STROUD-based charity Meningitis Now has welcomed a Department of Health announcement that a vaccine against the disease will be introduced.

The DH has announced that the Meningococcal B (Meningitis B) vaccine will be introduced into the childhood immunisation programme.

A spokesman for the charity said: “We’ve campaigned tirelessly for this vaccine and it’s a victory for the thousands of families affected by meningitis every day. We know it comes too late for many people but we hope they take some comfort in the fact that future generations will now be protected.

“The Government will now begin price negotiations with the vaccine company Novartis, with a view to giving the vaccine free to all infants on the NHS.”

The spokesman added: “This is a fantastic step forward but it will take some time to implement. We still have much more to do in our ongoing fight against meningitis, raising awareness, funding research into new and improved vaccines, providing support for everyone affected and, of course, raising the vital funds we need to do our work.”