News | Durkan: Delight at deal on Men B Vaccine

Mark Durkan and Men B campaigners Darren and Emma Cowey

Durkan: Delight at deal on Men B Vaccine

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has welcomed today’s news that after a year of protracted price negotiations between the British government and drug manufacturers a deal has been struck which will see a life-saving vaccine against the deadly Meningitis B disease (Bexsero) available for free on the NHS for babies in Derry and across the North. Mr Durkan, who tabled parliamentary motions and campaigned at Westminster with the charity Meningitis Now calling on the government to introduce the new vaccine, has also supported the local campaign by Derry parents Emma and Darren Cowey who lost their nine-month-old son Jamie to Meningitis B in November 2004.

He said, “I am delighted at the news of this great achievement – and that after a year of protracted price negotiations Bexsero will now be included in the Routine Immunisation Schedule of the NHS.

“This vaccine can prevent 82 per cent of cases of Meningitis B and the lifelong damage and loss of life it tragically brings.  Bexsero will also be effective against incidents of Men W which have shown an increase in England but thankfully not here as yet.

“I really appreciate that the Health Minister Jim Wells contacted me ahead of this announcement to stress that the decision by Whitehall will be ‘downloaded’ to Northern Ireland as soon as possible – and that he will be moving in sync with Jeremy Hunt on this.

“I also want to commend everyone at Meningitis Now for their compelling campaign over many years.  Indeed, this great result is down to the brave and generous work of families and those who have endured Meningitis B’s worst.

“My own constituents Darren and Emma Cowey were typical of the character of the campaign that was fought – having lost their young son to Meningitis B and wanting vaccination to spare others from that risk.

 “I have spoken to them today to congratulate them on the difference that they have helped to make by their generous campaigning work for other parents and children.””

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