Young people in part of Calderdale urged to get second vaccine dose to protect against rare strain of Meningitis

Health experts offering extra Meningitis vaccines after a cluster of cases have applauded the “fantastic” community spirit of people in Todmorden.

By sarah fitton
Tuesday, 19th July 2022, 4:36 pm

The roll out of the first dose of the Meningitis B vaccine has been a success, said Director of Public Health for Calderdale Deborah Harkins - but a second dose is needed for people to be protected.

People aged between 16 and 24 who live in OL14 are being invited to vaccine clinics after the cluster of cases of a rare strain of Meningitis, including one death.

Kai Young, from Todmorden, died within hours of showing symptoms of the dangerous illness. He was 19 and leaves a two-year-old daughter.

Two doses of the vaccine is essential, say health experts

Public Health consultant Ben Leaman said around 50 per cent of the 1,500 people offered the jab have had their first dose.

“We’re pleased with that,” he said. “It’s more than we expected and more than we would usually see.

“There’s something quite special about the community spirit in Todmorden and that has shone through.”

There have not been any more cases of the strain recorded but the experts have stressed the risk level has not changed, and people must have both doses to be protected.

Director of Public Health for Calderdale Deborah Harkins

“I want to say a big thank you to the people of Todmorden,” said Ms Harkins. “That community spirit is fantastic.”

Councillor Sarah Courtney, Cabinet Member for Public Health, thanked Kai’s family for their courage in sharing his story as she believes it will have helped encourage people to have the vaccine.

People who are eligible for the vaccine will be contacted via a text from their GP as well as a letter.

As reported by the Courier, concern was raised after a spate of cases of the rare strain in Todmorden and its surrounding villages.

Just over 10 per cent of all cases of the rare form reported nationally over a period of weeks were recorded in the OL14 area.

The number of cases was small, stressed public health experts, but unusually high for one area so they took action.

This vaccine is one of the jabs offered to all children when they are very young, but only since 2015 so people currently aged 16 to 24 are unlikely to have had it.

It offers protection against different strains of Meningitis to the one offered to all young people, so those in OL14 who are contacted are being encouraged to take up the invitation to get protected.

Anyone who still needs a first dose or can not make the planned clinics for the second, should email [email protected] For more information visit www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/meningitis-b.

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