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SA govt backs meningococcal PBS petition

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016

An online petition to have the federal government fund a meningococcal vaccine is gathering momentum after being instigated by South Australian Health Minister Jack Snelling.

The petition has attracted almost 12,000 signatures and calls on the Commonwealth to include the vaccine for the B strain of the disease, which currently costs about $500, on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Mr Snelling says it's unfair that the vaccine is available only to those who can afford to pay for it.

"Therefore, I have called on (Prime Minister) Malcolm Turnbull and the federal Liberal government to urgently add this lifesaving vaccine to the PBS for all Australian children," the minister said.

"They must subsidise the vaccine to prevent unnecessary deaths and heartache."

The petition follows a spate of meningococcal cases in South Australia in recent weeks, with four people currently receiving treatment in hospital.

Earlier this month the disease also claimed the life of 16-month-old Adelaide toddler Charlie Mason with the B strain thought responsible.

A PBS subsidised vaccine is currently available for the C strain.

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