United Kingdom: Parliament set to debate meningitis legislation to prevent needless child deaths

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Nearly 830,000 signed a petition to get the age for meningitis B vaccinations given to all children including older kids. Parliament are set to discuss landmark legislation on meningitis vaccines after a record-breaking public petition triggered a debate. Nearly 830,000 signed up to a campaign calling for meningitis B jabs to be given to all children. Currently only kids up to five months are given the vaccination, but public outcry over several high-profile deaths led to a petition demanding the programme be expanded to older children. Claire and Mark Timmins’ brave boy was just seven years old when the disease killed him without warning a fortnight before Christmas in 2013. Claire, 37, and Mark, 49, from Walsall, released a harrowing photograph of Mason on his deathbed to highlight the issue and make sure no more parents have to experience the suffering they went through.  Claire said: “We’re all feeling positive. Nothing will be decided on Monday, but it’s a big symbolic event. A lot of MPs have confirmed they will be attending, and 29 have signed an Early Day Motion supporting Meningitis Now and the Meningitis Research Foundation. 

“It’s definitely a huge achievement - we didn’t think it would get this far, but Mason’s story has really helped. We’re so proud of everything he’s been able to do. “Sadly there have been more children who have passed away while we waited for this debate to come. Out of our tragedy we want something good to happen. “The sooner we get change, the sooner we can make a difference.” The Westminster Hall debate will take place at 4.30pm on Monday, and will be broadcast on www.parliamentlive.tv.  Meningitis Research Foundation Chief Executive, Vinny Smith, said: “Too many children are still being killed and seriously disabled by a vaccine preventable disease. "Surveys show it is the most feared illness by parents of young children.  “This is reflected in the overwhelming response to the petition to extend MenB vaccination which has brought about the parliamentary debate and a unique opportunity to help end the dreadful suffering caused to families by MenB."