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Life-saving jab may be free on NHS

Angela Cloke has been campaigning for Meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero, to be offered to babies since it was licensed in the European Union in January 2013.

Angela Cloke with son Sam who nearly died from meningitis
Angela Cloke with son Sam who nearly died from meningitis

A Solihull mum whose son almost died from meningitis has welcomed news that a life-saving jab is being made available on the NHS.

Angela Cloke has been campaigning for Meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero, to be offered to babies since it was licensed in the European Union in January 2013.

Last month the Government announced it would be making the jab free for infants if a ‘cost effective’ price can be agreed with manufacturer Novartis.

“It’s a fantastic result,” said Angela, a 47-year-old mum from Chadwick End. “There’s no price you can put on a child’s life.

“It will save lives and the sooner they introduce it the better.”

Farmer’s wife Angela joined charity Meningitis Now after her 18-month-old son Sam was misdiagnosed and nearly died when he contracted the disease back in December 2000.

After discovering the infant had a temperature and rash she called her local GP’s emergency service. But it was three hours before the doctor came – and diagnosed eczema and flu.

“I felt so torn, it didn’t feel right but I thought the doctor knew best,” she said.

When his condition deteriorated Angela followed her gut and called out another doctor – a decision which saved her son’s life. By the time they arrived at Warwick Hospital, Sam was seriously ill.

“He was so critical they asked if we would like the hospital chaplain,” said Angela. “Being told your child has meningitis... time seems to stand still.”

Sam was in hospital for ten days but miraculously escaped the most serious side-effects which can include loss of limbs or deafness.

“He suffers quite badly from migraines,” she said. “Other than that he’s made a good recovery.

“I got involved with the charity because I didn’t want other mums to go through what I did; the misdiagnoses, the uncertainty. Don’t be afraid to be thought of as a fussy mum. If I hadn’t trusted my instinct, Sam wouldn’t be alive today.”

Meriden MP Caroline Spelman was “delighted” the vaccine had been endorsed, adding: “Implementing the MenB vaccine will certainly help tackle the UK child mortality rates, which are amongst the highest in Europe, and give comfort to parents across the UK.”

 

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