Doctors, nurses and scientists have joined the call for uptake of the meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine by writing to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.
The letter, led by Dr Simon Nadel, Consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care, St Mary's Hospital, London, has been signed by 118 people determined to see an end to the leading cause of meningitis, which kills and maims more children than any other infection in the UK.
Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) Chief Executive, Christopher Head says: "This is the first time those working on the front-line of the disease have publically joined the MenB debate. These are the doctors, nurses and scientists who witness the devastation of MenB first hand. It's important their voice is heard."
Simon Nadel adds: "I feel very strongly about this vaccine. I have worked with children desperately ill from meningitis and septicaemia my entire working life and like everyone fighting this disease, I know just how difficult it is to diagnose and treat. The only way to deal with it effectively is through vaccination. I am not alone in that opinion, many of my colleagues across the UK feel strongly too. That's why we decided to send a letter to Jeremy Hunt."
The letter urges the Secretary of State to make the right decision for children in the UK and calls on the Minister to demonstrate his genuine support for child health and innovative vaccine development, by ensuring the deliberations about a freely available MenB vaccine are concluded swiftly and a vaccine against MenB is introduced for infants and adolescents as soon as possible.
MRF is supporting the letter by making it available to read in full at www.meningitis.org/menb
Health professionals can continue adding their names to the letter by emailing MRF at firstname.lastname@example.org