THE parents of a baby who was killed by meningococcal B disease on the weekend say they couldn’t afford the $350 vaccine.
This has prompted calls to make the vaccine affordable for all.
The devastated parents say the meningococcal B strain took their son’s life in just two hours.
Speaking to 7 News, Jordan Braddock’s parents say they put their little boy to bed on Saturday night and noticed nothing unusual — he was happy and taking a bottle, as per usual.
The next morning the 6-month-old was “listless and quiet”. His worried mother took him to the GP near their home in Mount Gambier, SA, and they were immediately referred on to the emergency department.
Thirty minutes later he broke out in a rash and two hours later he passed away.
The little boy had stopped breathing as doctors prepared to fly him to Adelaide and they could not revive him.
“Why us? It’s so cruel,” Jordan’s father wrote on Facebook on Tuesday.
According to the Adelaide Advertiser, people who came into contact with the boy have been prescribed precautionary antibiotics.
Hopes of a free jab to prevent the dangerous meningococcal B strain were given a boost last night after it emerged urgent high level briefings will be given to the South Australian State Government within days.
AMA SA vice president Dr Chris Moy said while families had to pay for the expensive vaccine only those who could afford it could protect children.
Dr Moy, a GP, said SA was a in a different position from the rest of Australia because it was the only state where the B strain was predominant.
“We don’t want to alarm people because cases are rare … but some babies will die or be disabled if we don’t do this,” he said.
“We don’t want to embarrass the new government and we understand that it’s going to cost money but it’s really a no-brainier.”
The Advertiser has learned Premier Steven Marshall on Tuesday held talks with SA Health chief executive Vickie Kaminski about introducing a statewide vaccine program.
A government spokesman on Tuesday night said ministers will next week “receive a briefing from vaccine provider GSK”.
The pharmaceutical company, which developed the shot, said it was waiting on the results from an SA trial to put in an application for the national immunisation program.
Last year, there was a global shortage of the B strain vaccine Bexsero, but it is understood GSK now has enough supply to immunise all young children and babies across the state.
The details emerged as doctors urged the newly elected Liberal Government to provide a free vaccine amid growing fears for children’s safety.
The Australian Medical Association issued an urgent plea for Mr Marshall to step in and bridge the gap until the Federal Government can list the jab on the National Immunisation Program.