Like more than 96,000 young Tasmanians, three-year-old Indica Slater received a free meningococcal ACWY vaccine.
However, until she was diagnosed with meningococcal B, mother Samantha Williams said she was unaware her daughter was at risk.
After noticing a red rash on Indica’s stomach, Ms Williams said she suspected the chicken pox or measles.
But when her daughter’s temperature reached 40.8 degrees, Ms Williams said she didn’t think twice about calling an ambulance.
“We had just gotten over the flu. She had a bacterial infection in her chest, so I thought maybe it was just that coming back,” she explained.
“When I got her out of bed she was acting delusional and confused.
“She couldn’t walk properly and wasn’t making any sense. It was terrifying.”
Indica was rushed to the North West Regional Hospital where she was immediately given antibiotics for the treatment of meningococcal meningitis.
Days later at the Royal Hobart Hospital, Ms Williams was told her daughter had meningococcal B.
“I didn’t have any understanding of it [meningococcal B] until we were in the hospital,” she said.
“She [Indica] had all her normal vaccinations, the ones that don’t cost. But I didn’t know or understand really, that B was a separate one.”
Indica is the second case of meningococcal B in Tasmania this year.
A 10-month-old from Launceston was diagnosed with the B strain in April.
Meningococcal B vaccines are only available with a private prescription, with two injections needed for full protection.
However, at a cost of between $150 and $250 per dose, Ms Williams said it was unlikely she would be able to afford to protect the rest of her family.
“Not many people can fork that sort of money out, especially when they have two or more kids,” she said.
“I have two and one more on the way. If I can find the money, I definitely will be doing it.
“But if it was publicly funded, I would 100 per cent be doing it.”
Health Minister Michael Ferguson said he had raised the issue at a Council of Australian Governments meeting, with the federal government agreeing to do everything it could to accelerate consideration of a B vaccine on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
“Furthermore, the federal [health] minister has made the unprecedented announcement that if he receives medical evidence to list it, he will have it funded and listed as part of the National Immunisation Program,” Mr Ferguson said.
South Australia is the only state that funds the B vaccine.
Source: The Examiner