England

Faye Burdett death from meningitis prompts huge public response

Faye Burdett Image copyright Just Giving / Charlene Reed
Image caption Faye Burdett was taken to A&E with a rash on her forehead but died days later

A man who set up a petition for all children to have the meningitis B vaccine has said he is overwhelmed by the response after more than 640,000 people signed it.

Lee Booth started a petition after one his daughters was deemed too old for the vaccine. It attracted 900 names.

Support grew after a Kent couple shared harrowing pictures of their daughter Faye Burdett who died this month.

It is now the most-signed online petition in parliamentary history.

Mr Booth, 44, from Gateshead, said he was "speechless and overwhelmed" and the response had been phenomenal.

The father-of-two said: "The number of signatures has just skyrocketed. The government cannot now ignore the biggest petition ever."

Toddler's 11-day battle

His petition calls for vaccination of all children up to at least the age of 11.

And because the petition has gained more than 100,000 signatures, a debate is now guaranteed to be held in parliament.

Two-year-old Faye, from Maidstone, died on Valentine's Day after an 11-day battle with the infection.

Her family shared a picture of her covered in a rash and lying in a hospital bed just before she died.

Image copyright Getty Images/Matt Dawson

Faye's parents, Jenny and Neil, shared the picture to raise awareness of the disease. They also said the response had been overwhelming.

And ex-England rugby captain Matt Dawson revealed how his two-year-old son Sam had meningitis W135, ending up hooked up to machines in hospital before he recovered and returned home.

A vaccine to protect against meningitis B is available on the NHS for babies aged two months, followed by a second dose at four months and a booster at 12 months.

Parents who wish to have older children vaccinated must pay privately, but there is a worldwide shortage of the vaccine and stocks are low.

It is hoped there will be increased stocks in the UK by the summer.

The NHS programme is unaffected by the shortage.

Image copyright Meningitis Now
Image caption Faye's mother Jenny published the picture of her daughter just before her death

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