Former England rugby captain and Strictly star Matt Dawson is encouraging the public to sign a petition for all children up to the age of 11 to be vaccinated against meningitis B, after revealing his 2-year-old son Sami was lucky to pull through after contracting the C-strain of the disease.
The petition was started after another 2 year old, Faye Burdett, from Maidstone, Kent, died of meningitis B on Valentine’s Day this year, having had it for 11 days. Her parents Jenny and Neil want every child – not just babies – to be given the meningitis B vaccine.
Since September 2015, it has been offered to babies between 2 and 5 months old, with a booster at 12 months. Parents of older children who want their child to be vaccinated can only do so privately – at a cost of up to £480 – and worldwide stocks of the vaccine are currently very low.
Dawson, who also stars in A Question of Sport, told his 250,000 Twitter fans he was “umming and ahhhing” about posting pictures of his little boy in Great Ormond Street Hospital, but in the end he and his wife agreed it was important.
He also urged his followers to sign the petition:
Since the petition was started, it’s been signed by almost 500,000 people – which means Parliament is required to consider it.