South Shields Gaztette


CRAIG Gotts used to be a normal, happy-go-lucky teenager, who liked nothing better than a game of football with his friends.

But now the 17-year-old is rarely out of the house because he has rheumatoid arthritis in both feet and is often so ill that he spends the whole day in bed.

Craig, of Westoe Road, South Shields, first became ill after receiving the meningitis C vaccine last December -and his mum wants to know if that is to blame for his problems.

Marilyn Gotts said: "The day after the injection he was all right, but the day after that he was really poorly and we thought it was flu.

"He was in bed for three days, just lying there - he had one mouthful of his Christmas dinner and vomited, then went to bed for the rest of the day."

"Then on New Year's Day he woke up and his foot was swollen - the next day both feet were like rugby balls and he just wasn't himself."

Craig was taken to the hospital and saw several doctors, but it was not until he saw a specialist in Sunderland that arthritis was diagnosed.

Now Craig has to walk with a stick, is often poorly and has seen his hopes of a career in the army dashed.  Craig said: "I have good days and bad days, I'm sore all over some days and I can hardly stand up straight - it's like a burning hot sharp pain."

His mum said: "He's never been the same since. I didn't think you could get arthritis just like that and I don't know if it has anything to do with the jab.

"But it just seems so coincidental that he's never been  well since and if it has been the injection that's done it, other parents should know about it."

Dr Bashir Malik, consultant in communicable disease at the health authority, said: "We are not in a position to comment on whether an individual's illness has a direct link with his or her vaccination.

"There may be many factors involved in an individual's illness which the hospital clinician will consider. "If the clinician considers there may be a direct link then this will be reported through the adverse reaction reporting system. "We would reassure parents that this is a very safe vaccine which has been extensively tested and the number of reports of reactions to the vaccine is normal              for a programme like this.

"The reactions include headaches, sore arms and dizziness.

"The balance of benefit to risk remains overwhelmingly in favour of the meningitis C vaccine and parents and young people should continue to take up the opportunity to be immunised."

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