Meningococcal Australia is disappointed by the recent decision by the Government’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee not to fund the Meningococcal B vaccine. This decision means the vaccine will not be made freely available to Australian families via the National Immunisation Program.
Meningococcal B accounts for 84 percent of meningococcal disease cases in Australia and we see broad access to the vaccine as critical to reducing the number of cases of the disease each year.1 As we have seen with the introduction of the Meningococcal C vaccine on the National Immunisation Program in 2003, the impact of including a vaccine in the immunisation
program can be dramatic with only two cases in the under 19 year old age group reported in 2012 (Australian Meningococcal Surveillance Programme Annual Report 2012).
If not identified early enough, the emotional and financial impact of meningococcal disease on individuals and families can be enormous. Up to 1 in 10 of those who contract the disease will not survive and up to 1 in 5 are left with lifelong disabilities that range from learning difficulties, sight/hearing problems, loss of fingers, toes and limbs as well as scarring from skin grafts (cdc.gov).
Meningococcal Australia is committed to educating families and communities on the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and we encourage families to discuss vaccination with their doctors.