Parents Launch Meningitis Campaign
A family who lost their son to meningitis is launching a national campaign urging parents to take control of the meningitis vaccination process
Fiona and Gavin Mason don’t want families to rely on the health system to inform them about this lifesaving vaccination, or rely on their child’s own understanding of their meningitis risk to protect themselves from this killer disease.
The Masons are fronting a campaign led by charity Meningitis Now, who’s latest research suggests that 83% of young people aged 16 and 24 do not believe themselves to be at risk from meningitis and that confusion over MenACWY vaccine eligibility, have contributed to the low 40% vaccine uptake. Over one million young people are estimated to have missed this free lifesaving vaccine - a number which, the charity says, is getting bigger, as between 15% and 20% of school children aged 15 are missing the vaccine on an annual basis.
Meningitis Now has described the issues as ‘a perfect storm’ where low MenACWY vaccine uptake and low levels of perceived risk will inevitably result in young people losing their lives to meningitis in the coming year. This fear is further highlighted by the research that shows that over 50% these young people do not know that meningitis can be prevented.
As young people take decisions on their futures, the charity is asking parents to take control of vaccinating their children, and to check if their sons and daughters have been given the MenACWY vaccine, which is free to all young people born on or after 1 st September 1996 and to all freshers under the age of 25.
The research also asked young people about knowledge of the signs and symptoms of meningitis which - if correctly identified and treated immediately - could significantly improve the outcome for a person with the disease. Nearly three quarters of people asked were not confident about knowing these and are therefore not in position to help themselves or their friends should meningitis strike.
Fiona Mason lost her 21-year-old son Tim to meningitis in March 2018. Tim was working and studying as an electrical engineering apprentice at a college in Eastbourne and, just over 21 hours from the first visible symptoms, he had lost his life to meningitis. Tim had contracted MenW, a strain that is covered by the MenACWY vaccine, a vaccine that Tim - like so many others - had missed.Published: by Radio NewsHub