MUM’S PLEA FOR VAC­CI­NA­TIONS

Sunday Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY AMY COLES and NI­COLA SMALL

FOUR fam­i­lies whose lives have been dev­as­tated by menin­gi­tis to­day call on the penny-pinch­ing Gov­ern­ment to change a mon­eysav­ing vac­ci­na­tions pol­icy and im­mu­nise ALL chil­dren un­der 18.

They be­lieve their heart­break­ing sto­ries should shame the Tories into scrap­ping cut-off dates that mean chil­dren older than three do not qual­ify for an NHS jab against the deadly B strain of the dis­ease.

It means an es­ti­mated 11 MIL­LION young­sters are cur­rently un­vac­ci­nated as only ba­bies born after the in­tro­duc­tion of the anti-MenB Bexsero vac­cine in May 2015 have been given in­oc­u­la­tion on the NHS.

The Gov­ern­ment says it would not be a “cost-ef­fec­tive” use of NHS cash to give all older chil­dren the jab ret­ro­spec­tively.

But griev­ing mum Kirsty Ermenekli has a mes­sage for them.

She and hus­band Ricky, both 33, had to watch six-year-old daugh­ter Layla-Rose die of MenB. Kirsty storms: “The Gov­ern­ment is putting a price on kids’ lives when no child’s life should come with a price.

“It ter­ri­fies me know­ing how many lives are at risk. I wouldn’t want my worst en­emy go­ing through what we did that hor­ren­dous night.”

Layla-Rose died of sep­sis in Fe­bru­ary last year at Royal Old­ham Hos­pi­tal just 24 hours after fall­ing ill.

Haunted Kirsty says: “I pic­ture it just be­fore I go to sleep ev­ery night – the pil­low be­ing moved from her head as they started re­sus­ci­tat­ing her.

SCREAMED

“I was in shock. I screamed. I thought, ‘This can’t be hap­pen­ing to Layla.’ I was try­ing to wake my­self up think­ing it was a night­mare.

“I didn’t get a chance to tell her I loved her, to say good­bye.”

Kirsty wishes she could turn back the clock and pay for the £220 jab the Gov­ern­ment de­nied her daugh­ter.

“Had I known there was a vac­cine avail­able I’d make my­self skint to do it,” she says.

Her three el­dest have since been in­oc­u­lated on the NHS be­cause of what hap­pened to their sis­ter.

Nearly 700 chil­dren and teenagers aged over a year have con­tracted menin­gi­tis B since May 2015 – end­ing lives and leav­ing some sur­vivors maimed for life.

Among then was Faye Bur­dett who died aged two on Valen­tine’s Day, 2016. Her par­ents Neil and Jenny, of Maid­stone, Kent, re­leased har­row­ing pho­tos of the tod­dler rav­aged by the dis­ease as she fought for life in hos­pi­tal. They had to make the heart­break­ing de­ci­sion to turn off her life sup­port, after an 11-day fight for life.

An e-pe­ti­tion had been launched for the vac­cine to be given to all chil­dren in the UK – at least up to the age of 11. And within days of tragic Faye’s pic­tures be­ing pub­lished, it had 820,000 sig­na­tures, mak­ing it the most signed in Down­ing Street his­tory.

But the Depart­ment of Health stood firm. It said it was fol­low­ing guid­ance from the Joint Com­mit­tee on Vac­ci­na­tion and Im­mu­ni­sa­tion ( JCVI).

A 2014 Bri­tish Med­i­cal Jour­nal re­port re­vealed the cost to the NHS of im­mu­nis­ing only in­fants would be

Kirsty and Ricky want jabs for ev­ery child after los­ing Layla-Rose, left

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