‘Access to life-saving vaccines essential’ – Ritchie

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Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
SDLP MP for South Down has asked the UK Secretary of State for Health to include the newly licensed meningitis B vaccine on the NHS. Speaking to Newry Times following Health Questions in Westminster Ritchie stated, “Every year parents across the north of Ireland are confronted with the horrifying impact of meningitis, which is fatal in one in ten cases and causes permanent impairment in one in every three cases. “It is critical that everything is done to raise awareness and take early prevention measures, such as introducing vaccines. “I fully endorse Meningitis UK’s Beat it Now campaign to make Bexsero, the first meningitis B vaccine licensed for use in the UK, available to all children through the NHS . “While it remains important that parents are given the best possible advice to identify meningitis symptoms, these often remain difficult to notice and may be detected too late. It is therefore vital that parents have access to potentially life-saving vaccines as soon as possible. Ritchie added, “The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation, an independent expert advisory committee of the Department of Health, is due to consider the vaccine this summer and I will continue to make representations on this. “It was reassuring to hear the Secretary of State for Health give his support to this vaccine and I hope to see his continued support. This vaccine could save tens of thousands of lives over the next decade and should be introduced as soon as possible.”
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