Support grows for Renmark family’s call for meningococcal B vaccine to be added to PBS

Almost 3,000 people have backed a petition calling for the meningococcal B vaccine to be listed on the National Immunisation Program Schedule after it was started by the parents of a child who contracted the deadly virus.

Last month Sarah and Adam Parkyn’s three-year-old daughter Jazmyn started showing flu-like symptoms before breaking out in a purple rash, after contracting strain B of the meningococcal virus.

The family’s doctor rushed the toddler to Renmark Hospital and she was later flown to Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital for intensive care after having a fit.

“It’s something that you don’t think you are ever going to go through because they are immunised, but they are not immunised against this strain,” Ms Parkyn said.

Mr Parkyn said Jazmyn was slowing making a recovery but was “complaining still of pain in her legs and she is walking a bit funny”.

The family will make weekly trips from Renmark, 254 kilometres north east of Adelaide, to the capital to have Jazmyn’s skin grafts checked and re-dressed by medical staff.

“We had all our daughters, we’ve got three daughters, we’ve had them all vaccinated which included the meningococcal vaccine,” he told ABC Breakfast.

“So we thought our daughters were covered but that was only for the C strain.

“We were never told about a B strain at the moment which should also be discussed if it is not on the vaccine program.”

A vaccine was introduced in 2013, but only the strain C immunisation is subsidised.

An online petition calling for the B strain vaccine to be covered on the PBS has already attracted 2,702 signatures.

The family also wants to start a written petition to gather further support for the cause.

Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin has backed the Parkyn’s online petition.

“I’ve written to the Minister and am awaiting a response, clearly this is something we need to consider closely at a government level,” Mr Pasin said.

All 16 cases of meningococcal recorded in South Australia this year have been the B strain.

Source: ABC News