Children in Western Australia will receive free meningococcal vaccines following six deaths from the disease in the last year.
The number of meningococcal cases in WA doubled from 2016 to 2017, reports ABC news.
A total of 46 cases of the disease were recorded last year, with the highest rate among children aged five and under.
Health Minister Roger Cook said the ACWY vaccine would be available through GPs and Child Health Clinics from today for children aged one to four.
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He criticised the Federal Government for not doing more to reduce the incidence of the disease.
“This is a $5.7 million dollar program because we want to actually take action, particularly given that the Federal Government has failed to respond to what we believe is an unacceptable level of incidents of the meningococcal W strain,” he told ABC Radio Perth.
“We didn’t want to have to take this action because vaccinations programs are the responsibility of the Commonwealth, but we simply cannot sit by and allow this disease to wreak havoc on our community.”
Just last week the federal government was being accused of failing families by not providing free meningococcal vaccines to children under five. Read more here.
These may include high fever, chills, headache, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, confusion, and severe muscle and joint pains.
Young children may not complain of symptoms, so fever, pale or blotchy complexion, vomiting, lethargy (blank staring, floppiness, inactivity, being hard to wake, or poor feeding) and rash are important signs.
Sometimes – but not always – symptoms may be accompanied by the appearance of a spotty red-purple rash that looks like small bleeding points beneath the skin or bruises.
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