Dromore mother backs meningitis vaccine petition

editorial image

A Dromore woman whose daughter battled meningitis at the age of just 20 months is backing a petition seeking vaccination for all children.

Heather Douglas (36) is among hundreds of thousands of people supporting the petition after two-year-old Faye Burdett from England lost an 11-day fight against meningitis B.

It was announced last September that the meningitis B vaccine was to be given to babies at two, four and 12 months in Northern Ireland, but Heather said it was vital to extend the programme to other age groups.

“Poppy is alive, but I’m still angry and determined that every child should be included in a vaccination programme,” Heather said in a newspaper interview. “She had been her usual happy little self but when she was taking her bottle she vomited. As a mum for the second time I wasn’t too worried, and thought it was just an ear infection.

“I gave her Nurofen and she seemed okay. The next morning I stripped and changed her; at 8am and she had no marks on her at all.”

Heather and husband, Chris (38), took Poppy to their Dromara GP, who found purple blotches on her chest. Sent immediately to Craigavon hospital, Poppy was fighting for life within hours. “My heart was breaking - my baby was dying,” Heather told the paper, “but Poppy is a fighter; she had a lumbar puncture that Saturday, which was awful to watch, but she continued to improve and the doctors and nurses were delighted.”