Eastbourne dad wants action on meningitis jab

Jack Stevens and his dad Justin
Jack Stevens and his dad Justin

A DAD who has seen first hand the devastating affect of meningitis is calling on the Government to push for a new vaccine.

Justin Stevens, who lives here in Eastbourne, had to watch his son battle the illness at the age of just 21-months-old, and wants more to be done to prevent other parents going through a similar ordeal.

Mr Stevens said, “My son Jack was seriously ill with meningococcal septicaemia and spent over two weeks in hospital, eight days of which were on life support.

“It was terrible – the worst experience ever, a total nightmare.

“Luckily he made a full recovery but we spotted the symptoms early which we were told had a great impact in him getting better.”

Having seen his son’s hospital visits drop from every other day to once every few weeks, Mr Stevens is now putting his efforts into helping highlight the need for similar early interventions for other families.

The 31-year-old of Great Cliffe Road is throwing his weight behind the Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) campaign, called Counting the Cost of Meningitis.

The MRF hopes to highlight what it calls the ‘shocking’ lifelong financial costs of surviving meningitis and septicaemia and wants the Coalition Government to kick-start a wider and earlier implementation of vaccines to prevent the diseases.

Meningitis and septicaemia are deadly diseases that can strike anyone without warning, killing one in 10, and leaving a quarter of survivors with life-long after effects.

And Mr Stevens added, “We are supporting this campaign to ensure that everyone is aware of the dangers of meningitis and that children are vaccinated against all types of meningitis.”

Christopher Head, chief executive of MRF, agreed. He said, “Counting the Cost of Meningitis shows how those who survive can struggle to come to terms with the impact of these horrific diseases which change lives forever.

“Our campaign makes practical recommendations to Government to reduce the burden of disease through vaccination in the UK.

“Vaccination provides peace of mind for every parent across the country so I appeal to the people of Eastbourne to sign our online petition and join the fight against meningitis and septicaemia.”

To add your name to the campaign, or to find out more information, visit www.meningitis.org.