Health officials in Northern Ireland are about to launch a new vaccination project to protect children from a deadly form of meningitis. The vaccination against pneumococcal meningitis will also be integrated into the childhood immunization programme.
"Pneumococcal meningitis is very serious," Diane McConnell, manager of the Meningitis Research Foundation, said. "Children can effectively die or be left with very severe after effects like brain damage, epilepsy, fits, blindness and many other things."
In the UK around 400 children are affected each year. 50 children die as a result. In July a nationwide program was announced to combat meningitis. The vaccine costs £34.50 each shot and is more expensive that all other childhood jabs.
"The new vaccine will save lives and prevent hundreds more cases of serious illness and disability in both the young and old as well as reducing the need for medical care," Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer for England said in July. "Immunization is the best way to protect children from serious disease and the routine childhood programme has been extremely effective in achieving this. The changes set out today will further improve the programme and benefit children."