Private hospitals in Northern Ireland have reported an increase in the number of inquiries about the Meningitis B vaccine from concerned parents whose children are not eligible for the vaccine under the NHS.
The BBC has learned that 90 people are on a waiting list for the vaccine after it ran out of supplies last week.
A petition calling for the Meningitis B jab to be offered to all children has so far been signed by 700,000 people and counting, making it the biggest online petition in Parliamentary history. Lee Booth started the petition last September after his baby daughter was denied the vaccine on the NHS because she was deemed to be too old. The petition gained only 900 signatures, until awareness was raised further when the mother of two-year-old Faye Burdett shared a heartbreaking photo of her daughter dying from meningitis in hospital. Faye died on Valentine’s Day after fighting the disease for 11 days.
Under national NHS guidelines, the Meningitis B vaccine is currently only available to babies as part of the national immunisation programme.