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Petition launched after Faye Burdett loses battle against meningitis

MPs will debate the current meningitis jab policy in Parliament following the death of a Maidstone two-year-old.

It comes after a petition calling for a change in the immunisation programme became the most signed in parliamentary history on Thursday.

The parents of tragic Faye Burdett have thanked those who have supported a campaign calling for the meningitis B jab to be rolled out to all children under 11 on the NHS.

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Little Faye Burdett, who tragically lost her battle against meningitis
Little Faye Burdett, who tragically lost her battle against meningitis

So far it has been signed by more than 800,000 people, overtaking the 560,000 people who called for US presidential hopeful Donald Trump to be barred from the UK.

A date will be set for a debate about the subject in the House of Commons.

But first MPs want to hear from some of the families affected by meningitis B, as well as medical experts.

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant was this week set to raise the issue with Health Minister Jane Ellison.

She said: “I was incredibly saddened to read of this news.

"It is hard to imagine what the Burdett family are feeling at this time but the tragic nature of this case has resonated with so many of us and as a mother and grandmother, with myself.

"I have urgently written to the Department of Health to ask for their reasoning behind the policy of Meningitis B vaccinations for new-borns only.”

Faye's family said they were enduring "a pain you cannot describe" after the youngster lost her brave battle against meningitis B on Valentine's Day.

Following the public support after releasing heart-wrenching pictures of their dying daughter to raise awareness about the deadly condition, Jenny and Neil Burdett said: "We would like to thank every individual who has taken the time to sign the petition, it's been an overwhelming response.

Little Faye Burdett, who tragically lost her battle against meningitis
Little Faye Burdett, who tragically lost her battle against meningitis

"We thought long and hard about the release of Faye's pictures but we as a family who have been through the devastation of Meningitis feel all children should be able to get protected from this cruel disease that took our daughter.

"It's not just about Faye's death but also about the maiming of children that do survive the disease, it is life changing for the child and it's family, prevention must better."

Faye passed away on Valentine's Day after fighting the infection for 12 days.

Family and friends are now hoping to raise awareness of the killer disease, and to fight for a vaccine for older children.

Her parents first noticed the youngster was ill on February 2, and took her to Maidstone Hospital.

She was released after tests, but became sicker and was rushed to Evelina London Children's Hospital the next day for treatment.

She was put on the children's ward, but became gravely ill, with doctors fighting to treat the infection, which is a bacteria that lives in the back of the nose and throat.

Her parents Jenny, 36, and Neil made the brave decision to say goodbye at around 9pm on Valentine's night.

Speaking movingly as they launched a fundraising bid for the hospital which treated her, Faye's parents said in a statement: "Faye was taken to A&E with a rash on her forehead, she was then transferred by south bank retrieval service to Evelina children's hospital where her heart stopped in the ambulance.

"They revived her and spent hours working on stabilising her, we were given a 1% survival rate but she proved them wrong and carried on fighting.

"After a few days she seemed to have turned a corner but the the sepsis started to effect her more and the decision of limb removal was made, but the extent of removal was massive, full leg amputation and one arm and plastic surgery.

"But she was getting tired, her little body consumed by meningitis and sepsis (blood poisoning) we had to make the decision, a massive operation and she may die or we let her go peacefully on her own accord.

"We decided the latter and then watched our little girl slip away and at 9pm February 14 she finally fell asleep forever. All this in only 11 days."

Accountant Jody Cox is a friend of Faye's mum, and has helped highlight a petition calling for a vaccine.

She said: "Jenny said to me 'I am in a pain I just cannot describe'.

Evelina Children's Hospital. Google Street View
Evelina Children's Hospital. Google Street View

"I don't know how many people could have made such a brave decision. It must be the hardest decision in the world.

"I don't know how anyone can cope."

Friends and family have so far raised more than £6,000 for Evelina London Children's Hospital through an online appeal.

Now, Jody, who is herself pregnant, is urging people to sign a petition to make the meningitis B vaccine available to older children.

In the UK from September last year, babies born on or after July 1 have been offered the MenB (meningococcal group B) vaccine as part of the routine immunisation schedule.

But children who are older are not included.

The petition hopes to raise awareness of the issue, and to roll out the vaccination programme to all children aged up to 11.

Just this week the petition had just 4,000 signatures. Now, after Faye's case has been highlighted, that figure has risen dramatically.

That means it will now be considered by the Government for debate.

England rugby legend Matt Dawson appeared before MPs
England rugby legend Matt Dawson appeared before MPs

Ex-England rugby player Matt Dawson has given his backing to calls for all children to be vaccinated against Meningitis B, following the death of two-year-old Faye Burdett.

The TV personality revealed his two year-old son Sami has recently has the virus - and has posted pictures of him in hospital on twitter, covered in red marks and attached to wires and tubes.

VIDEO: Friend of family Jody Cox describes how the family are coping

"We don't want Faye's death to be in vain" - Jody Cox

Jody, 33, who lives near Jenny in Kent Avenue, Maidstone, said: "It's one of those things it doesn't happen to people you know. It happens to other people.

"People need to be aware of the illness - aware that there's a vaccine that could be made available.

"We don't want Faye's death to be in vain."

She said Faye's parents are taking strength and support from the fact that people are taking the time to raise awareness and sign the petition.

Both parents praised Evelina London Children's Hospital for the staff's treatment and understanding.

To support the Burdett family and raise awareness of the vaccine sign the petition here.

To donate to the fundraising efforts for Evelina London Children's Hospital click here.

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