TURNBULL NEEDS TO DO MORE TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM MENINGOCOCCAL B
The Turnbull Government needs to progress a national response to meningococcal B, to ensure as many young Australians as possible are protected against the devastating disease.
Today’s release of the Medical Journal of Australia looking at the issue of meningococcal B show that Australia must do more to ensure children most at risk have access to the vaccine:
The morbidity and mortality of MenB disease are greatest during infancy, particularly the first 8 months of life… [MEDICAL JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIA, p383]
Some of the highest contemporary disease rates in the developed world affect Australian Indigenous people… [MEDICAL JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIA, p381]
Access to and availability of the MenB vaccine may be lowest among the highest risk population groups we identified in this study… [MEDICAL JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIA, p386]
Currently, subsidised access to the vaccine is a state-by-state lottery depending on where a child lives, meaning the children who are set to benefit the most from the vaccine may simply miss out because their parents can’t afford to pay.
Labor has long been urging Turnbull to act on this situation.
We have asked the Government to work with the manufacturer and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to negotiate a way forward, including whether this vaccine should be accessible for all children on the National Immunisation Register.
Only last month it was revealed that the Health Minister had lied to Australian parents about the progress of this life-saving vaccine that would protect their children, with his Chief Medical Officer admitting there was no plan to fast track the meningococcal B vaccine, despite the Minister’s boasting. There isn’t even an application before the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.
As the release of today’s studies show, Australian children need leadership from Turnbull – not empty promises and political grandstanding.