New Pneumococcal Vaccine Does Save Lives
Estimates show that over 300 children have avoided serious illness like meningitis, septicaemia and severe pneumonia after being given the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine - just one year after its launch.
Of these 300 cases, it is estimated that 17 would have died, and about 30 would have been left with a permanently disability.
However, Director of Immunisation Professor David Salisbury is calling for more children to be vaccinated as uptake of the new vaccine remains lower than vaccines for other illnesses. Figures out today by the Health Protection Agency show that 86 per cent of children have received their PCV vaccine so far - leaving one in six children without protection.
Health minister Ben Bradshaw said: "Vaccinating children against harmful diseases is one of the easiest and most important health measures we can take. These figures are a stark reminder of the importance and benefits of immunisation as we shift the focus of the NHS from a sickness service to a wellbeing service."
David Salisbury says: "That about 300 young children have already been saved the trauma of suffering from a major illness like meningitis shows the importance of vaccinating children against serious illness.
"It is so important for a child to get all their vaccinations and this success story should serve as a reminder to check that your child's vaccines are up to date."
Sue Davie, Chief Executive at the Meningitis Trust, says: "Pneumococcal meningitis is a devastating disease and vaccination is the only way to prevent it. That means it is important for parents to immunise their children. The Meningitis Trust fully supports this vaccine and backed its introduction last year. Through our 24-hour nurse-led helpline and other services, we know what impact meningitis can have on the individual, their family, friends and colleagues, and every day we hear how people's lives have been changed forever after contracting meningitis."