Fight for meningitis vaccine continues

One year on from the death of his two year old daughter, Neil Burdett has accused the government of ignoring his campaign for it to widen the number of children eligible for a potentially life saving vaccination against Meningitis B.

Meningitis is a devastating condition that can claim lives within a matter of hours if not identified and treated quickly. Currently, the government only requires babies aged 2-4 months to be vaccinated against the disease, quoting the cost as the barrier to a roll out for older age groups.

Mr Burdett published photos of Faye whilst in hospital, covered in the distinctive rash that comes with meningitis and sepsis. As a result over 800,000 signed the petition, to call for wider vaccination roll out on the NHS. However, despite presenting to parliament on the issue, he says he has not had a response to his plea. Parents can pay privately to have their children aged over 4 months vaccinated using Bexsero, but those without the means to pay face their child being exposed to greater risk to the bacterial infection.

1/10 Meningitis B cases end in death, usually when diagnosis and treatment are delayed. Clarke Willmott has acted for many children and parents as a result of negligent delays in treatment by GPs and hospitals involving Meningitis B and sepsis. For those who survive, ¼ are left with long term injuries such as the need for amputation, loss of hearing, cognitive difficulties and neurological conditions such as epilepsy.

It is important to note that the UK was the first country in the world to have a nation rollout of the Bexsero vaccine, with a 50% drop in cases being reported in children under 1 since routine vaccination was introduced. But surely that is more evidence to support a wider rollout across older age groups?

Clarke Willmott is proud to support and work closely with the Meningitis Research Foundation who provide support to those affected by meningitis and septicaemia and campaign for wider treatment against the infections. We echo the call for more focus on the prevention and treatment of meningitis and sepsis and a better understanding of the threat presented to millions around the world.

MRF’s website has a helpful guide to meningitis, from what symptoms to look out for to what support may be available to those suffering with long term injuries as a result.


Symptoms can include:

  • fever
  • blotchy skin
  • refusal to feed
  • irritability
  • cold hands and feet
  • rash
  • muscle pain
  • seizure type symptoms
  • sufferer being floppy and lifeless.

Anyone with any concerns should seek urgent medical attention or dial 999.