A LETTER from Nowra arrived on the desks of Treasurer Wayne Swan, Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek and NSW Minister for Health Jillian Skinner this week.
Founder of the Troy Pocock Meningococcal Foundation Larraine Pocock wrote to the politicians with a request that has the potential to save lives.
“I wrote to ask that provision be made in the 2013 budget for the funding of a newly available vaccine against meningococcal B,” Mrs Pocock said.
Meningococcal B is the most common strain of the disease in Australia and is involved in 90 per cent of cases.
“We are of the understanding the government is now assessing a new vaccine for meningococcal B, and it is urgent that this be included in the national immunisation program,” Mrs Pocock said.
“My request to the Treasurer and various government departments was firstly a personal one after the death of my son Troy in 2001 from meningococcal C.
“Secondly it is a humanitarian request for the precious children in our care.
“Troy was not vaccinated against meningococcal C strain as it was not on the national immunisation program at the time and we were ignorant to [the vaccine’s] availability.”
Mrs Pocock said there had been a significant reduction in cases of meningococcal C and pneumococcal with vaccination programs in the past few years because the government had included those vaccines in the national program.
“Our foundation has created awareness to the signs and symptoms of the disease, but with the disease difficult to diagnose in time to save lives and limbs, immunisation is our best defence.
“We look forward to seeing this vaccine freely available to our children in the future.”