Too late for Leo, but Lana welcomes jab

Jo-Anne Dobson MLA with Lana Wells campaigning for Meningitis Research Foundation.
Jo-Anne Dobson MLA with Lana Wells campaigning for Meningitis Research Foundation.

A Donaghcloney mum was an ‘emotional wreck’ on the day a new vaccine against meningitis B was made available for free on the NHS.

Lana Wells, who lost her son Leo to the deadly disease, commented: “It’s too late for Leo and so many others, but finally our government has seen sense to save so many people’s future.”

She added: “Words cannot describe the feeling of hearing that the vaccine is now to be made available. It has made all the hard work of so many people worthwhile – Karl and I are delighted to play our part in this, but we are also indebted to the help and determination of our MLA Jo-Anne Dobson – her political pressure has helped us to celebrate this victory.

“Jo-Anne has gone well beyond the political call of duty for us as a family and for the campaigners. As a family she has shown to us that she truly cares. Jo-Anne is not just a politician and we are proud to call her our friend – and we thank her from the bottom our hearts.

“The campaign was hard-won – we shouldn’t have had the announcement last summer that the vaccine was not going to be made available. However, we are so delighted that families across the UK will now have a fighting chance to battle this devastating disease – this achievement is legacy for our son Leo and others.”

Lana and her husband Karl have raised over £40,000 for research into this devastating disease which claimed the life of their infant son Leo in March 2010 at just two years five months.

Mrs Dobson said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has finally recommend that the vaccine Bexsero, which tests have shown to provide 73% protection against meningitis B, will be made available.

“Lana, Karl and parents across Northern Ireland were not prepared to sit quietly and take no for an answer and I am proud to have helped them achieve this victory which will help save lives. You can never place a price on the value of a vaccine which could potentially protect our children.”