2/07/2020

Free Meningococcal B Vaccine for Aboriginal children


Catch up vaccine for under twos


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children under two will be eligible for free “catch up” vaccinations for Meningococcal B disease from this month.
Immunization against Meningococcal B is recommended for high-risk groups, but until now has been available only for purchase under prescription.
MDAS Early Years Midwife and the coordinator of MDAS immunisation coordinator Yvonne Barnes said from July 1 the Bexsero vaccine would be available free for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
“Meningococcal B is a major cause of meningitis, or inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, and also causes septicaemia, which is an infection of the blood,” Ms Barnes said.
“Infection rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children under two are about four times higher than in non-Indigenous children, so we’re keen to let our families know that it’s now available free of charge,” she said.
The Bexsero vaccine for Meningococcal B has been available for purchase since 2018, but from July 1 it will be on the vaccination schedule for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies in Victoria.
“So it will be offered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families as part of the routine vaccination schedule from now on, which is great news,” Ms Barnes said.
“But for parents of children aged up to two years who’ve missed out, a catch-up program is available, which is also free of charge.”
Ms Barnes said Bexsero vaccine would be available through MDAS Health Clinics, and more information was available from MDAS Health staff.
“We’ll be contacting our families in coming weeks to make sure they’re aware,” she said.
“But if anyone wants to make a booking for a catch-up program for their toddler, or if they just want to get a bit more information about Meningococcal B, or the vaccine itself, including the possible side effects, we’re here to help,” she said.
There were no tears when Kym Egan brought River Johnson along to the vaccination clinic at MDAS this week, with MDAS midwife Yvonne Barnes.

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MALLEE DISTRICT ABORIGINAL SERVICES  “Our Vision: Generations of vibrant, healthy and strong Aboriginal communities”
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MILDURA
120 Madden Avenue Mildura
Phone (03) 5018 4100

SWAN HILL
70 Nyah Road Swan Hill
Phone (03) 5032 8600

KERANG
9 Nolan Street Kerang
Phone (03) 5412 6004




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MDAS - Quality Innovation Performance Accredited