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Parents who lost son to meningitis urges others to be vaccinated

Parents who lost son to meningitis urges others to be vaccinated

A couple whose 21-year-old son died from meningitis is hoping others will not have to go through what they did.

Fiona and Gavin Mason's son Tim was attending college and working as an apprentice electrical engineer when he became ill. In just more than 21 hours from the first visible symptoms, he died from meningococcal group W (MenW) in March 2018.

An inquest heard how several opportunities to diagnose and treat Tim had been missed.

The parents from Tunbridge Wells in Kent - joined by charity Meningitus Now - are now urging others to ensure their children take the MenACWY vaccine.

Mrs Mason said: "Tim’s death should never have happened. He paid the price of professional and systems failures.

“Tim, like many others, was never offered the MenACWY vaccine in spite of being in the priority vaccination group.

“Our fight is to understand how our kind, fun-loving, bright boy could have suffered this catastrophic systems and professional failure under the National Health system we are all so proud of.

“We’re determined to expose the failure of the vaccination system in the hope that we might do some good and stop another family from suffering the same loss.

“If we spread the word and encourage all those unvaccinated young people to ask for the vaccine yet more lives might be saved. Make sure your family and friends know about the vaccine - tell them Tim’s story and spread the word.

“We would then feel Tim’s approval. His mantra was ‘get your s**t together, so that is what we are now trying to do for others.”

Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord - this is usually caused by bacteria or viruses.

Some bacteria that cause meningitis can also cause septicaemia.

The MenACWY vaccination is free from GPs for most young people aged up to 25. It was introduced by the government in 2015 due to an increase in cases targeting young people.

Meningitis remains rare in the UK - although one in four people of this age carry the bacteria that can cause the disease.

Many people who contract meningitis and septicaemia will make a good recovery, but some will suffer physical, neurological and psychological after-effects.

Meningitis Now is also reminding parents to ensure their children know the signs and symptoms of meningitis. Knowing these, irrespective of vaccine status, and knowing to take immediate action if meningitis is suspected, will save lives and reduce the impact of the disease.

To help drive home their message the family has recorded a video, which can be seen on the charity’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/Meningitistrus.

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