HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO GET THE MENINGITIS B VACCINE? WE TRAVELLED 989 MILES!

Earlier this year I read a heart breaking story about a little girl called Faye, aged two, who had died on Valentine's day after fighting the Meningitis B infection for 11 days.

I cannot even start to imagine the pain the family must have endured in the days that followed after being told their baby had Meningitis. The family are now campaigning for the vaccine to be available to all children, you can sign the petition here.

In September 2015 a vaccine to protect against Meningitis B became available on the NHS to babies born on or after the 1st July 2015 as part of the routine immunisation schedule but parents who want to have older children vaccinated must pay privately at a cost of around £400!

After reading what this family had been through we decided to vaccinate Isabelle and Sofia against this terrible disease. I contacted http://www.meningitis.org/ to get numbers of local private clinics and it soon became apparent that there was a national shortage due to the surge in demand. So my mother in law contacted a friend in Majorca and we booked weekend break to go to a clinic in Palma, where the vaccine is readily available.
The system is very different to how it works in the UK as you buy the vaccine over the counter at the pharmacy and then take it to the clinic for the doctor to administer.
We arrived in Palma on the Friday and we contacted the clinic to order the vaccine for the Saturday morning. On Saturday morning we bought the vaccine over the counter from the pharmacy (I was glad to see the vaccine packaging was in english so I knew we were definitely giving them the correct vaccine). We then went to the clinic where the doctor explained that Isabelle (age 4) would need to have two vaccines two months apart and that Sofia would need to have two vaccines two months apart plus a booster in 12 months as she is under two. I was also worried about giving Sofia the vaccine as she is allergic to milk, eggs, nuts and sensitive to wheat and soya but the doctor advised it would be ok and she has been fine.

We went in prepared with the children's medical log books and lollies to distract them after the injection. We decided it would be best for Isabelle to go first then Sofia, Isabelle had her injection in her arm and Sofia had her injection in her leg.

Over the next few hours the area where they had the injection was very sore; Isabelle was holding her arm crying with pain and Sofia couldn't walk on her leg for the rest of the day. The pain was much worse than any previous injections. I gave them both calpol and they both fell asleep around tea time and slept through the night only waking up for Calpol. The next day Sofia could walk fine although the area was still quite tender and Isabelle's arm was very sore for about 7 days.
I'm so relieved the girls have had the first stage of the vaccine. We're going on holiday to Majorca in May and this is when they will have the second dose of the vaccine.

Are you planning to pay for your child to have the Meningitis B vaccine?

I have listed a few helpful websites where you can get some advice and book to have the vaccine.
www.meningitis.org
Dr Arun Ghosh
Pall Mall Medical
Childrens Cromwell Hospital
Unidad Pediatrica Palma, Mallorca

With Love, Jemma xxx
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