The tragic death of young estate agent Abigail Harris serves as a stark reminder about the vital role vaccination plays in protecting us from some of the most brutal illnesses.
It was revealed last week that the 23-year-old, from Cheltenham, went to bed on March 27 suffering from ‘cold symptoms’ – and never regained consciousness.
She had contracted deadly bacterial meningitis and hadn’t been vaccinated, as she didn’t know she was eligible.
It was revealed last week that Abigail Harris, 23, from Cheltenham, went to bed on March 27 suffering from ‘cold symptoms’ – and never regained consciousness.
Abigail had contracted deadly bacterial meningitis and hadn’t been vaccinated, as she didn’t know she was eligible.
Experts say it is never too late to have a jab: even if you aren’t sure whether you’ve had a specific vaccination, there is no evidence that having another dose is harmful.
In fact, the immunity provided by many vaccines actually wanes over time, so an extra dose may offer you an important boost
JAB PROTECTS AGAINST
Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B – all infectious diseases that can cause severe illness, disability and death.
WHEN IS IT GIVEN?
To children at eight, 12 and 16 weeks.
HOW LONG DOES IT LAST?
Protection against diphtheria, a highly contagious and potentially fatal infection of the nose, throat and skin, lasts ten years.
Boosters in adults are only recommended if travelling to affected areas, and for those working in healthcare settings.
The jab also offers immunity from tetanus, a serious wound infection, for around 25 years in three-quarters of cases, and from polio for at least 18 years.
Boosters would only be needed if travelling abroad to affected areas – there were only four cases of tetanus in the UK in 2016, and no polio cases since the 1980s.
The whooping cough component, also given separately to pregnant women, protects for four to six years, and Hib for up to three and a half years – but neither is necessary in adults as the condition rarely causes serious problems.