Plight of Isabelle, 10, prompts vaccine plea

Share this article

A ten-year-old who lost all her limbs to meningitis has inspired Belper MP Pauline Latham to campaign for an immunisation programme.

Quadruple amputee Isabelle Weall requires prosthetic limbs to be able to move around and will need constant support from a carer to be able to live a reasonably normal life.

She was struck down with the disease at just seven years old when Meningitis caused septicaemia to develop in her arms and legs and she now requires prosthetic limbs to be able to move around.

Mrs Latham met Isabelle after being invited to her home by parents Oliver Weall and Catherine Lloyd from Oakwood.

And her fight prompted Mrs Latham to lobby the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, who are currently considering the merits of creating an immunisation strategy using the newly developed drug, Bexsero.

During a parliamentary debate this week Mrs Latham told the joint committee about the personal strength that Isabelle has exhibited, and commented on her positivity despite the hardships she has faced in her short life.

Mrs Latham, MP for Mid-Derbyshire said: “When I met Isabelle, I was amazed at how bubbly and bright she was, especially considering the enormous hardship she has suffered as a result of contracting Meningitis B.

“Despite this fact, no parent should have to go through the heartbreak of having a child die as a consequence of Meningitis or have to make the terrible decision to have parts of their child’s body amputated, because of the sepsis it causes.”

Mrs Latham said an immunisation programme would make economic sense for the Government, as fewer people would require the support that those afflicted with the disease need to live a normal life.

More importantly, however, Mrs Latham said that this would also mean that fewer families would have to go through the pain of having a child suffering with this terrible illness.

The UK’s first lifesaving vaccine for Meningitis B, the most common form of the disease in the UK, is now available – but only privately for hundreds of pounds – making it beyond most people’s means. Charities such as Meningitis Now are campaigning for it to be free on the NHS.

As yet there is no vaccine that can prevent all forms of meningitis and septicaemia. Last year around 600 people contracted Meningitis, a disease which can frequently lead to amputation and death.

For more information visit