Wigan children are still thought to be at risk of a deadly disease - a year after a vaccine was introduced.
On September 1 2015, the UK became the first country in the world to introduce the revolutionary new meningococcal group B (Men B) vaccine, Bexsero to under ones through the NHS.
Despite this, more than one child a month may have contracted the deadly Men B infection and up to five children may have needlessly died. Many of those who have contracted Men B will be living with life-changing after-effects.
Wigan mum Meray Breeze campaigned for years to get the vaccine introduced after her son Jordan contracted meningococcal septicemia when he was just four years old.
She spoke publicly last year about her son’s illness and the long-term affects it has on the now 17-year-old in bid to encourage parents to make sure their children had the vaccination.
“We will never know if, had the vaccination been around at the time, it would have stopped Jordan contracting it,” Meray, from Butts Bridge, Leigh, said.
“We were lucky but we have a lot of friends who were not so lucky.”
Meningitis Now, which funds research and raises awareness of the deadly disease, has criticised the Government for not making the vaccination available to all under fives in a bid to avoid tragic deaths.
Parents like Jenny Burdett, whose daughter Faye’s death sparked an unprecedented 823,346 signatures to a UK-wide petition, have renewed calls for the vaccine to be made available to all young children at risk.
Jenny said: “As a family who has been through the devastation of meningitis, we feel that all children should be protected from this cruel disease that took our daughter.
“It’s not just about Faye’s death but also about the maiming of children that survive the disease; it is life changing for a child and their family.
“Prevention must be better.”
The charity claims that until the decision is made to extend the age range of the vaccine, an estimated 2.1 million children under five remain at risk from Men B. Meningitis continues to kill more children under five than any other infectious disease.
Meningitis Now Chief Executive, Liz Brown, said: “The introduction of the Men B vaccine was a milestone in the prevention of this killer disease - it’s such a shame that the Government didn’t have the courage to go that extra step and protect all children most at risk.
“We call upon Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt to mark today’s anniversary by taking that extra step now and introduce the vaccine for all of the nation’s children up to the age of five.”