Sutton's Nicole calls on Government to support new life-saving vaccine

PUBLISHED: 09:45 25 March 2013 | UPDATED: 09:45 25 March 2013

Sutton's Nicole Wilson

Sutton's Nicole Wilson

Archant

SUTTON campaigner Nicole Wilson, who lost her legs to meningitis, is urging the Government to make a new vaccine against Meningitis B available to all children.

The drug, Bexsero, is the first Meningitis B vaccine licensed for use in the UK and could save thousands of lives, especially among the under fives, who are most at risk from the disease.

Meningitis B, the most common form of the disease in the UK, affects about 1,870 people each year and every week six people, many of them children, die of the disease.

Nicole, 21, and her family are uniting with other families whose lives have been affected by meningitis to support Meningitis UK’s new Meningitis B: Beat It Now campaign.

They are pressing the Government to urgently introduce the vaccine into the Routine Childhood Immunisation Schedule, so children will receive it through the NHS and it will save as many lives as possible.

Nicole was 16 and on holiday in Cyprus when she suddenly felt overwhelmed by severe nausea and dizziness.

Hours later she experienced breathlessness and shooting pains in her ankle. She became disorientated and her temperature rocketed.

Soon after one side of her face became paralysed, she was vomiting and had stomach spasms and leg pain. A telltale pin-prick rash also appeared on her legs.

She was taken by ambulance to hospital where she was diagnosed with a kidney infection and given antibiotics.

But Nicole’s condition deteriorated and doctors faced a 12-day battle to save her life. The plucky teenager clung to life but her legs and most of her fingers had to be amputated. She also lost the sight in one eye and is now infertile.

Nicole, who has now learnt to drive and is studying a course in beauty therapy, said: “Meningitis has changed my life drastically. It hit me really hard and has been a traumatic experience.

“I’ve had to learn to walk again and it’s been difficult to go out with my friends so I feel that I’ve missed out.

“I’m constantly undergoing physiotherapy and have such a bad hip that I need a hip replacement. This all costs money which could be saved if there had been a vaccine.

“It’s is such a terrible disease and when it hits someone it’s so forceful. Introducing a vaccine would change things so much.”

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), who advise the Government on vaccination, will decide whether the Meningitis B vaccine should be in the schedule and what age groups should receive it.

They are due to consider the vaccine in the summer this year and will look at factors such as price, cost-effectiveness and compatibility with other vaccines in the schedule.

To support Meningitis UK’s Meningitis B: Beat it Now campaign, please visit www.meningitisuk.org/beatitnow.

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