Two Leyland families have spoken of their relief after the Government struck a deal for all babies to be given a potentially life-saving Meningitis B vaccine free of charge.
Pressure was mounting on Whitehall health chiefs to bring the vaccine on to the national childhood immunisation scheme after Government advisors recommended it a year ago, but a battle over costs caused a delay.
“It’s come too late for Duke, but other families hopefully won’t have to go through what we have”Duke’s aunt, Paula Barton
Five-month-old Duke William Barton of Church Road, Leyland, died of meningitis on March 1 only 16 hours after developing symptoms.
On the evening of Saturday, February 28, Duke developed a high temperature and was rushed to Royal Preston Hospital, where he sadly died.
After his death, his heartbroken family joined calls for the vaccine.
On hearing the news, Duke’s aunt, Paula Barton said: “We’re definitely very pleased, it’s very good news.
“It’s come too late for Duke, but it means that going forward, other families hopefully won’t have to go through what we have.
“It’s taken a long time, but the pressure has paid off.”
Leyland youngster Sofia Crockatt, 10, of Balcarres Road, lost her leg and almost died from meningococcal septicaemia in February 2007.
Her family have also been fighting for the vaccine since.
Her father Nick said: “It’s mixed emotions; it’s frustrating it wasn’t around years ago for Sofia and little Duke, but it is a massive step in the right direction.
“The challenge going forward is there will be an element of catching up.
“It’s only going to be available in September for children up to four months old, so babies born today will not get it and neither will older children.
“So it’s really important we don’t get complacent.”
Babies will receive the first vaccine at two months old, followed by two further doses.