PROGRESS is being made in the fight to have the Meningococcal B vaccine funded for children in South Australia with discussions between a peak advisory group and the State Government.
Health Minister Stephen Wade is “actively” investigating options for the provision of a vaccination program.
In a statement released this week, Mr Wade said the peak national clinical advisory group – Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) – had recently significantly recast recommendations on Meningococcal B vaccination.
“The options for South Australia are being revisited in the light of ATAGI’s new draft recommendations,” Mr Wade said.
His comments follow two recent cases of invasive meningococcal being reported in Mount Gambier.
Sadly, one of the cases resulted in the death of six-month-old baby Jordan Braddock.
His heartbroken parents Nathan Braddock and Emma Smith – who spoke about their devastating loss in The Border Watch on Friday – have backed calls for the State Government to fund the vaccine for children.
A fundraiser was held in Mount Gambier on Friday night to raise money for awareness and research.
Nearly $3000 was raised during the event, which will be used by Meningococcal Australia and the Paige Weatherspoon Foundation.
The foundation was founded in 2002 to raise money for research and awareness programs.
Opposition leader Peter Malinauskas called on the Marshall Liberal Government this week to provide free meningococcal B vaccines for all children under the age of two.
He said this would save families hundreds of dollars per child.
The Labor leader claimed the Liberals have adopted Labor’s policy of free flu vaccinations for children under the age of five.
“I applaud the Marshall Liberal Government for adopting and implementing Labor’s policy for free flu vaccinations for children,” Mr Malinauskas said.
“The same principles apply when it comes to free flu vaccinations for Meningococcal B, which is the most common strain of the deadly infection in South Australia.
“If the Liberals require more detail, we’re happy to provide our detailed costings, which were reviewed and approved by the independent parliamentary budget advisory service.”
Mr Malinauskas said this was an important measure which would save lives.
“I urge the Marshall Liberal Government to do as they did with Labor’s free flu jabs policy,” he said.
Mr Malinauskas said South Australia had some of the highest rates of Meningococcal B in the nation, but the vaccine costs hundreds of dollars for each child.
Earlier this year, Labor released a fully costed, fully funded plan to provide free Meningococcal B vaccines for children aged two and under at a cost of $24.5m.
All newborns were to be provided with the vaccine on an ongoing basis.
Mr Malinauskas said Labor was releasing the detailed costings of the proposal from the independent parliamentary budget advisory service to provide the Marshall Liberal Government with the detail required to adopt and implement the policy.