After years of campaigning, today is a bittersweet day for all of those affected by meningitis.
The Meningitis B vaccine will now be rolled out to babies, and subsequently lives are going to be saved.
It’s too late for some, my friend Alex included, but in time for so many more.
This is a topic I feel particularly close to – I had meningitis, my friend died from the after effects, and from being a part of the meningitis community I have seen firsthand the devastation it can leave in it’s wake.
I was a small part of the team of committed volunteers that have helped to campaign for this jab… Along with CEO of Meningitis Now Sue Davie and fellow Young Ambassador Livvy, I handed the thousands strong petition into the Department of Health a few months ago. Then, the whole young ambassador cohort had a meeting in the Cabinet Office with the PM’s special advisor on health, Nick Seddon. We were all very vocal and hopefully got the long term impact of meningitis across to him.
Thankfully, a few weeks later it was announced the government had negotiated with GSK, and we knew we would get the vaccine.
It’s been a long wait, but today is the day vaccination finally begins. Despite this, it really is important to remain vigilant to the signs and symptoms of meningitis as no vaccine is going to truly eradicate all strains of the disease.
Meningitis doesn’t discriminate, and it’s impossible to win the battle against such a dangerous thing without the knowledge to beat it.