Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 9°C


Martlesham Heath: Couple welcome Meningitis B vaccine after losing nine-month-old son to illness

14:46 25 March 2014

In March 2009 Mark and Jenny Smith

In March 2009 Mark and Jenny Smith's nine-month-old baby boy Taylor died of meningitis. Since then they have raised £25,000 in his memory for Meningitis UK. Left to right, Mark Smith, Jennifer Smith.


A couple whose baby boy died from meningitis have welcomed the news that a life-saving vaccine is set to be introduced.

Taylor Westley-Smith, who died from meningitis in 2009.Taylor Westley-Smith, who died from meningitis in 2009.

Mark and Jennifer Smith, who live in Martlesham Heath, lost their nine-month-old son Taylor to Meningitis B in March 2009.

He was taken to an out-of-hours clinic but the disease was not initially diagnosed and Taylor died in his cot that night.

The pair have welcomed an announcement from the Department of Health to introduce the meningococcal B (MenB) vaccine into the childhood vaccination programme.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) says evidence shows that the Bexsero vaccine is effective in preventing the life-threatening infection and should be rolled out, subject to it being made available by the manufacturer at a cost-effective price.

Mrs Smith, who has two other children, Erin and Morgan, said: “The sooner they start immunising babies, the sooner they will start saving lives.

“It’s too late for us but it’s only the vaccine that’s going to prevent other babies from developing Meningitis B.

“Babies and young children are still going to get the infection and the vaccine is not 100% but it will reduce the number of cases there are at the moment.

“It’s a massively positive step in the right direction and the sooner the price is agreed the quicker the vaccine can be put in production.”

The Department of Health will start negotiations with Novartis, which produces the only licensed vaccine, as soon as possible.

Professor John Watson, deputy chief medical officer, said: “We will now be working closely with Novartis in the coming months and if negotiations are successful, we hope to work with the other UK health departments to introduce a vaccine to prevent MenB as quickly as possible.

“This would make the UK the first country in the world to implement a nationwide vaccination programme.”

The JCVI has recommended adding the vaccination to the primary childhood programme meaning that, if plans progress, infants will be immunised starting at two months of age.

JCVI chairman Professor Andrew Pollard said: “MenB disproportionately affects babies and young children and can be devastating.

“After very careful consideration, JCVI concluded that use of the new vaccine would reduce cases of meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia and lead to a reduction in deaths, limb amputations and brain injury caused by the disease.”



Philip Heathcote.

The funeral of a Suffolk man gunned down in the massacre on a holiday beach in Tunisia is taking place today.

John McKno

A 70-year-old former maths teacher had denied 13 charges alleging he abused five children at Kesgrave Hall and two other schools.

Ipswich Crown Court.

An Ipswich woman whose sex assault allegations led to the discovery a convicted paedophile deported 11 years ago was back in the UK and working with vulnerable teenagers has broken her silence.

The Golden Boar in Freckenham. Cyclists called 999 after the pub owners refused them tap water.

A tap water argument between pub staff and cyclists broke out in Freckenham after the group asked for a free water bottle fill-up for four.

Firefighters were sent to Claydon

Last night a building in Claydon caught fire with three crews helping to tackle the blaze.

Sudbury silk will now be given special European protection from imitation thanks to laws championed this week by local Suffolk Euro MP Richard Howitt. The Suffolk Euro MP at Vanners Silk Weavers with chairman David Tooth.

It has graced the homes and bodies of celebrities ranging from Michelle Obama to members of the Royal family, but up until now ‘Sudbury silk’ has remained a relatively well-kept secret.

Myriad by David Rickard and Germano Di Chello will grace the grounds of Snape Maltings

An exciting new contemporary sculpture will be built at Snape Maltings next year to give visitors a different way of looking at the landscape.

Avocet kneeling allowing chicks to find shelter under wing

The RSPB is celebrating a record-breaking year for its emblem bird the avocet across its nature reserves - including one of the Suffolk sites where the species made its famous British comeback almost 70 years ago.

A car on Brackenwood Crescent has rolled into a house  causing minor damage.

A bearded dragon narrowly escaped unharmed, if a little bit shaken, after a car slammed into the front of a house in Bury St Edmunds earlier today.

The entrance to PPG Industries in Stowmarket. (File image from 2012)

Two males believed to be from Afghanistan have been arrested on immigration offences in Stowmarket this morning.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages