top of page
  • Writer's pictureCoMO

The Use of Emotive Images to Raise Awareness

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

22 March 2016

Written by Katie Humphries

In February of this year, pictures of a two year old meningitis victim, Faye Burdett, sparked a huge debate regarding the availability of the meningitis B vaccine to all children in the UK. The shocking pictures of Faye inspired over 800,000 people to sign a Meningococcal B petition that broke the record on the parliamentary petition website.

VaccinesToday published an informative article describing the social media activity and the unprecedented growth of the petition, which has so far resulted in two parliamentary evidence sessions to debate whether the vaccine should be provided free of charge to all children up to the age of 11 in the UK.

Additionally, the article poses the question – ‘is it right to share these photos to highlight the reality of vaccine-preventable diseases or is it unwise to use emotive images in this way?

Click here to read the VaccinesToday article.

Over the past few weeks, CoMO has witnessed the heightened public engagement and concern over the risk of meningitis. This is especially the case for anxious parents who wish to protect their children from this potentially deadly disease.

It is clear that the images of Faye Burdett have provided a shocking insight into the disturbing reality of meningitis. In the past many of our members have shared pictures of the physical consequences of meningococcal disease, such as amputation, and have found them to be powerful ways of raising awareness of the potential consequences of meningitis and septicaemia.

CoMO believes that, whilst graphic, these pictures, provided they are distributed with consent, are instrumental in warning parents and the public of the potential impact of meningitis.


Katie is a recent graduate from the University of Leeds, where she studied International Development with Sociology. She has previous experience in events management and marketing for International NGOs. Katie supports the head office at CoMO where she is working as the events and communications intern.

156 views0 comments


bottom of page