A life-saving vaccine that was approved in March has still not been implemented, prompting well-known Donaghcloney campaigner and fund-raiser Lana Wells and local MLA Jo-Anne Dobson to launch a petition calling for the immediate introduction of the Meningitis B vaccine, Bexsero.
The petition, launched during the League Cup Match between Glenavon and Glentoran last Tuesday evening at Mourneview Park, is being widely circulated across the local area and the public are being asked for their support.
Lana and Jo-Anne have been campaigning on this issue alongside the local charities Meningitis Research Foundation and Meningitis Now.
Commenting following the launch local Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson said: “In March we received the news which we had all been waiting for, that despite a previous refusal, the Meningits Vaccine Bexsero had finally been approved.
“All the hard work had paid off, or so we thought.
“However, this announcement was subject to supply and price negotiations which sadly have been going at a snail’s pace.
“Our petition calls on our Health Minister to treat this issue as a priority by putting pressure on the Health Minister in London to speed up these negotiations, but it also calls on him to ensure that the funding is available locally.
“I have written on a number of occasions to the Health Minister to ask about this issue and when I received my latest response those negotiations hadn’t started yet.
“It’s vital that this issue is moved forward to ensure that all children receive this vaccine.
“What we want to achieve is for all children in all regions of the United Kingdom to receive this life-saving vaccine, and that is why local funding is vital if local children are not to be left behind.”
Also commenting Lana Wells said: “I just want to thank everyone at Mournview Park so much for their support on Tuesday evening.
“The Fans, the players and directors - everyone was so generous and kind in supporting an issue which is so dear to our hearts.
“Together we are all helping to fight and defeat Meningitis. I want to see this vaccine introduced so that all kids can benefit from early diagnosis and intervention against one of the most feared infections in the country.
“When you see a petition please be kind enough to give us your support – it means so much for our children both now and in the future.”