Family backs vaccine after losing son, 14

Leslie & John Tanton

Leslie & John Tanton

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A family from Flore who lost their teenage son to meningitis is joining the fight to see a new meningitis B vaccine available to children.

Lesley and John Tanton and their son Paul are urging the Government to introduce the vaccine, Bexsero, into the routine childhood immunisation schedule so children will receive it through the NHS.

The family lost 14-year-old Mark, a Year 10 pupil at Campion School, to the disease on September 18, 2010 just days after showing signs of being unwell on September 15.

Mrs Tanton said: “We had a healthy, fit, young lad and then this devastating illness attacked. It transformed the whole family within a couple of hours and life was never the same again.”

Mrs Tanton says even for a practice nurse meningitis is very difficult to spot, especially without the appearance of a rash. There is no ‘typical’ way to spot it and the effects take hold very quickly.

She added: “It’s the rapid onset which can be so devastating. Mark was fine in the morning despite feeling unwell. He was chatting away to us. Then by 4pm he was unconscious and we never spoke to him again.”

The family is now backing the Meningitis UK’s Beat It Now campaign to support the 1,870 people affected by the disease each year.

Studies have shown that the vaccine will protect against 73 per cent of Meningitis B strains in the UK.

Mrs Tanton said: “There can be no reason why the Government would not support it. There’s no price you can put on a life.” For more information www.meningitisuk.org/beatitnow