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Complaints received about side effects of Meningitis C vaccine

12 June, 2000

In Autumn 1999 a meningitis C vaccine, Chiron, was introduced in a programme designed to immunise 13 million children throughout the UK.

It has since been reported that up to 5,000 children have suffered from adverse reactions to the medication including suffering seizures, severe headaches and blackouts. These all occurred shortly after receiving the vaccine. Most of the children were aged between the ages of 10 and 12.

Though the vaccine has seen a reduction in the number of new meningitis cases, the side effects reported to the Government's Medicines Control Agency have led David Drew MP to raise the case of Chiron in the House of Commons with the Department of Health. Mr Drew is secretary of the all-party Commons meningitis committee.

Mr Drew said, "We were led to believe this vaccine had been extensively trialled and we have no reason to think it hasn't been but if there are side effects we have to learn about them and think quite hard about who gets vaccinated."

The Meningitis Research Foundation told BEA, that the meningitis C vaccine is a well researched vaccine, but that it was important however, for the person receiving the injection to be well on the day.

They added that there was no contra-indication to people with epilepsy and that there is no new research to indicate anything to the contrary.

If you have any questions you can contact the Meningitis Research Foundation's freephone helpline on Tel 0808 800 3344. Alternatively, you can check their website out at: www.meningitis.org.uk.