Following an inquest into the death of 21 year-old Tim Mason, it was revealed that an electronic system operating in GP surgeries known as the Medical Information System (EMIS) had failed to call him for a vaccination.
Tim died in 2018 from MenW – and parents Fiona and Gavin have since campaigned vocally to help save others. In April we wrote to the Secretary of State for Health, and are pleased to see today that Junior Health Minister Seema Kennedy has admitted that the system was installed for GP’s with a default “off” setting. Instructions have now been sent to all GP practices to switch the alert system on.
The uptake of the MenACWY vaccine among 18-24 year olds has historically been low. Although many in this age group will have received it at school, we estimate there are as many as 1 million who have missed out on immunisation. Meningitis Now CEO Dr Tom Nutt said: “I welcome this news and hope it will mean more of those in this age group who have not been alerted to the fact that they are due a vaccination will now get the notification.
“We will continue to watch the rates of those who do take it up, and also continue to look at ways we can help raise awareness about the importance of vaccinations. Next month we will be launching a campaign aimed at students and young people making sure they check whether they are vaccinated and also learn to recognise the signs and symptoms of meningitis. It is tragic that it took the death of a young man, Tim Mason, to highlight this issue but I applaud his parents for speaking out to help save the lives of others.”