AN East Ardsley mum has called on MP Ed Balls for support in her bid to push for a meningitis vaccine.
Natasha Walsh, whose son Mikey contracted the disease at birth, visited Mr Balls in his Morley office and won over his support for the campaign.
The Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF)’s campaign ‘Counting the Cost of Meningitis’, is calling on the Government to pursue the widest and earliest 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.
Natasha is pushing for a Men B vaccine as she knows first-hand of its devastating effects.
She said: “Mikey contracted Group B Strep at birth and it became life-threatening at two days old. He spent five days on life support where we were told he might not make it. In total he spent nearly four weeks in hospital.
“Since then, he has made an amazing recovery and is our little hero but even at the age of three we’re still having to live with some of the repercussions.”
As part of the campaign, Natasha contacted Mr Balls and asked for his support in writing to the Secretary of State for Health, calling for a Men B vaccine to be included in the childhood immunisation schedule, as soon as one is available.
She is also calling for the government to change its criteria for assessing the value of vaccination.
Mr Balls said: “For mums like Natasha the devastation caused by meningitis is all too close to home.
“One-in-three mums-to-be are carriers of the Strep B strain of meningitis, yet there’s very little awareness of it.
“In this area alone, five families like Natasha’s will be affected by meningitis every single year. We should be exploring any ways in which we could improve awareness and support to safeguard the lives of small children and babies, especially if, at the same time, we can save money for the NHS too.”