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Meningococcal Alert After Toddler's Death

The family of a 16-month-old toddler has been left devastated after their son sadly passed away this week after contracting meningococcal disease.

Charlie Joshua Mason was diagnosed with the deadly disease on Monday and slipped into a coma the following day. 

His death has prompted survivors of the disease to urge authorities to put the B and W strain vaccines on the taxpayer-funded National Immunisation Program.

The state has recorded rising numbers of the deadly disease. Just this year three people were diagnosed with meningococcal W-strain, compared to 11 cases between 2000 and 2013.

Currently vaccines for the C-strain is only available on the National Immunisation Program and given free to children aged 12 months. GP’s do offer the B-strain-vaccine, for $125 a vaccination, but there is currently a world shortage of the vaccine. Four shots are needed. The W-strain is a little cheaper, costing patients with private-health insurance $50. 

A federal Health Department spokesman revealed to Adelaide Now the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee had considered several applications for the B-strain vaccine to be put on the national program.

“On each occasion, the PBAC was not able to recommend (the vaccine) Bexsero for subsidy because, based on the available evidence, it was not clear (it) offered enough protection against disease for it to be included,” he said.

In order for the PBAC to place the vaccine on the National Immunisation Program it must have clear and reliable scientific evidence that the vaccine works and it will not cause more harm. The spokesman said the Government cannot interfere with the process. 

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