Meningitis B vaccine: Parents release photos of son moments before death to raise awareness of non-obvious symptoms

Almost 700,000 people have signed the petition calling for the meningitis B vaccination to be provided on the NHS to children up to the age of 11

Emma Henderson
Monday 22 February 2016 10:14 GMT
(Ferrari Press Agency)

A couple have released pictures of their son showing him moments before he died of meningitis, as a campaign calling for the NHS to provide vaccinations against the infection continues.

Claire Timmins hopes the images will encourage other parents to look out for warning signs, after her seven-year-old son, Mason Timmins, did not have the rash which is most commonly associated with the disease.

Mason died within 24 hours of telling his mother he had felt ill in 2013. He had the viral meningitis vaccination, but contracted the bacterial form of the disease.

“One Monday morning I heard him coughing and then he started to be sick,” Ms Timmins told the Telegraph.

After he started to get a temperature in the afternoon, she rushed him to the doctors, where he became “really floppy”. The doctor immediately recognised it was meningitis and gave Mason injections, after which he lost consciousness.

“He felt ill at 6.30 am and by midnight he was brain dead," she said.

Ms Timmins and her husband Mark are supporting the online petition calling for meningitis B vaccination to be given to children up to 11 on the NHS.

Two-year-old Faye Burdett fought meningitis for 11 days before her death (PA)

“It’s quite shocking but that’s what we want as hopefully it will make people sit up and listen”, she said about the images.

The petition gained thousands of signatures after two-year-old Faye Burdett died from the disease on Valentine’s Day.

In a statement, Faye's mother said: "This is a photo of Faye, two years old, who sadly lost her life to this dreadful disease.

"We campaign for change in her memory. All children are at risk from this terrible infection".

The BBC Question of Sport star tweeted a video showing pictures of his son Sami as he was receiving treatment (Twitter/Matt Dawson)

It was publicised further by former England rugby captain Matt Dawson, who released images of his son Sami who survived meningitis, which he described as "two weeks of hell".

The petition is now nearing almost 700,000 signatures - the most signatures a petition has ever had - and will be debated in Parliament.

It was started by Lee Booth in September after one of his young daughters was too old to be vaccinated on the NHS.

Currently the vaccine is only offered to babies aged between two and five months, followed by a second dose at four months and a booster at 12 months.

Parents who want older children to be vaccinated must pay for this privately.

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