ONLY one in three parents can afford a new lifesaving meningitis vaccine for their children.
Meningitis Now, set up by Alveston’s Steve Dayman, works to save lives by funding research, raising awareness and providing support to those affected by the disease.
As part of its Beat in Now! campaign, the charity commissioned a survey of 1,008 Mumsnet parents.
Asked about a new vaccine against meningitis B, which received a European licence last January, just a third of respondents said they could afford to buy the vaccine privately.
It is currently only available privately and can cost up to £600 per child.
Meningitis Now is campaigning for the government to introduce the vaccine into the childhood immunisation programme.
Chief executive Sue Davie said: “The mothers who took part in this survey are sending a very clear message – that the government should act now to protect our babies and children, put their lives before cost and introduce the Meningitis B vaccine free on the NHS.
“We’d like any parents who haven’t signed up to our Beat it Now! campaign to join us and write to the Health Secretary, urging him to protect our children now.”
Some 95 per cent of those surveyed said they wanted vaccines that protect against meningitis to be offered free to all children through the NHS.
Nine out of ten mums said new parents should be given information about the signs and symptoms of meningitis – with less than half receiving such information when their child was born.
Justine Roberts, Mumsnet CEO, said: "Many parents are alert to the very real threat of meningitis but lots still aren't receiving the right information at the right time. The message is clear: parents want to be given information about the signs and symptoms of meningitis when their children are newborns, not later on."
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is likely make a decision later this month on whether to introduce the vaccine after assessing a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).