A mum whose world was turned upside down when her son contracted meningitis has expressed her delight that other families could now be saved from a similar ordeal.
Julie Jenkins (32), of Chatham Street, Colne, is thrilled that a life-saving vaccine against meningitis B will now be introduced into the national childhood immunisation scheme.
I am full of joy for the fact the hard work has paid off, but there is a sadness to it as well, since it wasn’t there when Louie got poorlyJulie Jenkins
Her little boy Louie (3) was struck with the disease in 2012, and had to have his legs and fingers amputated.
She has since appealed to residents to sign petitions by Meningitis Research Foundation and Meningitis Now.
The mum-of-two said: “It is wonderful. We have had to go through this happening to Louie, and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. This can save so many lives.
“My feelings at first were mixed. We have been working quite hard to get a vaccine to help everybody, and I am full of joy for that and the fact the hard work has paid off, but there is a sadness to it as well, since it wasn’t there when Louie got poorly.
“It gives the charities [who have done the petitions] the chance to give something back to the community. I am certainly going to try and get Louie and Francesca vaccinated.”
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the government had reached an agreement with drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, and that babies will receive their first vaccination at two months old. It is hoped it will be introduced this year.
And while Julie is overjoyed by the news, she is still appealing to local parents to remain aware of the signs and symptoms of meningitis.
She added: “Like any other vaccination, it doesn’t mean people will stop getting meningitis. Obviously don’t step back and think ‘that’s it’ - it is worthwhile knowing the signs and the symptoms, and then you are doubly safe.”
Meningitis Now founder Steve Dayman MBE, who launched the UK’s meningitis movement after losing his baby son Spencer to Men B in 1982, said: “I’m absolutely elated with the news – I’ve waited 33 years since losing my baby to the same strain to hear this phenomenal, watershed news. So many lives and much misery will be spared.”