Meningitis Now staff - Mark Hunt

Parental anxiety over coronavirus could put babies at risk of meningitis

Mark Hunt | 5th July 2020

Meningitis Now has expressed its concern over the ever-growing and large number of parents who could be failing to get their baby’s and young children vaccinated due to fears of contracting coronavirus

Coronavirus anxiety could put babies at risk of meningitis

Research carried out and published by pharmaceutical giant GSK suggests that only 27% of parents with young children feel comfortable taking their child to a medical centre for vaccinations – down from 91% pre-pandemic.

“This could mean that many thousands of babies and young children could be missing lifesaving vaccines for highly infectious diseases including MMR and meningitis”, says Dr Tom Nutt, CEO at Meningitis Now.

“Whilst the concern over contracting coronavirus is understandable, parents really do need to place their trust both in our healthcare professionals to keep their children safe when getting vaccinated, but also their own instincts to protect their loved ones – which means getting them vaccinated as soon as possible.

“As the nation emerges from lockdown, the sad and unpalatable truth is that coronavirus will not be the only infectious disease that will start to recirculate, and whilst data from Public Health England show that cases of meningococcal meningitis have dropped by 12% during the lockdown, compared to the same period year, cases could rise as we all become more socially mobile.

“The only way to protect babies and toddlers from diseases like meningitis is through vaccination”, concludes Dr Nutt.

Babies are routinely offered three vaccines which help to protect against the most common causes of meningitis during the first year. Meningococcal group B (MenB) at 2, 4, and 12 months, a combined MenC and Hib vaccine at 12 to 13 months and as of January 2020, a pneumococcal (PCV) vaccine at 12 weeks and 12 to 13 months. 

Check what vaccines are available.

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