Local meningitis campaigner, Lana Wells, has said she is hopeful the life-saving Meningitis ACWY vaccine for 17 and 18-year-olds, will be made available in Northern Ireland.
Her comments come after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that this vaccine, along with the Meningitis B vaccine for newborns, will be available in England and Scotland from September.
There is still some uncertainty however, over the ACWY vaccine’s introduction in Northern Ireland, although The Department of Health at Stormont has said it is ‘determined to try to identify the funding necessary’ to be able to introduce the vaccines.
Lana said: “Westminster is funding the Meningitis B vaccine for Northern Ireland, so it will be introduced here in line with other areas of the UK.
“But we hope that any day now we will also have an announcement on the ACWY vaccine.
“I was speaking to staff at Meningitis Research and they are confident we will have an announcement soon.”
Lana was speaking whilst bringing her own children to be vaccinated against Men B privately as they don’t meet the criteria under the NHS.
She went on to express concerns that the vaccine for teenagers doesn’t cover the Meningitis B strain and said she is determined to continue this campaign.
“Men B is one of the most dangerous strains and teenagers moving to places like university are so vulnerable,” she said.
“Jo-Anne Dobson and I have launched a joint petition at Lurgan show for teenagers,” she said.
“I’m glad a vaccine for men w is being introduced, but there are so many strains of meningitis it’s unbelievable. We still continue to fight for a world free from meningitis.
“We couldn’t have come this far without the continued support of Jo-Anne Dobson,” she added. “She has walked the streets with me for our joint petition for under fives and she will again for our teenagers. She has constantly lobbied in Stormont and been our voice for the past five years.”