Toddler Dies from Meningococcal B - Are your Kids Protected?
By: Zoe Crane, ellaslist
Faye Burdette was just two years old when she died on Valentine’s day of Meningococcal B. In the UK, where Faye lived with her parents, the vaccine for Meningococcal B has recently been added to the childhood immunisation scheme, but only for newborn babies, leaving young kids like Faye unprotected. In the wake of this tragedy, Faye’s family are now campaigning to have this vaccine made available for free to all children.
In Australia, the situation is more dire. The Bexsero (Meningococcal B) vaccine is available but is not included on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme or the childhood vaccination schedule even for babies. As a result, many parents aren’t even aware that the vaccine even exists.
What is Meningococcal B?
Meningococcal B is quite rare, only affecting around 250 people each year in Australia. However so severe is the disease that around 25 of those people die and 50 develop permanent disabilities. The disease occurs most in children under five, and young adults from 15-24 years old.
Early symptoms such as fever, lack of appetite, vomiting, drowsiness or confusion are often mistaken for colds or flu, and by the time a rash appears the disease can be quite advanced. The rash starts with tiny red or purple spots that quickly spread and grow to look like bruises.
Early detection and immediate medical attention (and even better – vaccination) offer the best chance of survival.
Infectious disease expert Dr Booy warns of how quickly the disease can take hold. “You can be fine at breakfast, and dead by dinner”
[caption id=“attachment_99119” align=“alignnone” width=“960”]
Jazmyn, in hospital with the tell-tale rash associated with meningacoccal b, was lucky to survive. Source: Facebook/Jazmyn’s meningococcal B journey[/caption]
How to Vaccinate Against it
Newborns under six months old – need three doses of the Bexsero vaccine plus one booster
Babies six to 12 months old – require two doses plus a booster and
Children over one year – require two doses two months apart.
Each dose costs approximately $150. To get the vaccine for your kids, speak to your GP who can recommend when best to include the vaccine into your child’s regular vaccination schedule.
Lack of Awareness and Affordability
As the Meningococcal B vaccine is not included in the childhood vaccination schedule, many people are unaware of its existence. The cost of vaccinating against this dangerous disease ranges from $300 to over $600, and while you can’t put a price on protecting your children, many families just can’t afford that.
The makers of the vaccine have applied twice to the government to have the vaccine added to the pharmaceutical benefits scheme but have been turned down both times.
You Can Help!
The parents of Jazmyn Parkyn, a young Australian girl who contracted the disease last year but has thankfully recovered, have started a petition urging the government to make the vaccine available and free to all families. You can help spread awareness about this disease and the life-saving vaccine by letting your friends and family know.
The Early Signs to Watch Out For
ellalist wants to hear from you, would you pay over $500 to vaccinate your children? Do you think this vaccine should be added to the regular schedule?
Feb 26 2016
There should be no price put on the protection of our children's health
Feb 23 2016
This vaccine should be compulsory once tested
Feb 23 2016
Please add this vaccine to the others
Feb 23 2016
My two young children had their second dose of this vaccine today. It cost me $260 to have each child vaccinated (for the two doses) and I think I got about $50 back through our health fund. I couldn't put a price on their health and would never forgive myself if they somehow contracted a disease which I knew they could be vaccinated against. I would fully support this vaccine to be added to the regular schedule and for it to be free.