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Baby hit by meningococcal

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There are growing calls to make the Meningococcal B vaccine free, as an infant continues to be treated in Launceston General Hospital.

The 9-month-old is the second case of meningococcal disease in Tasmania this year.

Public Health Services identified the condition late yesterday and are still managing the patient's close contacts.

The Meningococcal B vaccine is available on prescription from GPs, but a number of groups are questioning why the strain isn't included on the successful state-funded meningococcal ACWY vaccination program.

It means that a family could have to pay more than $1000 to be fully protected.

Last month, a Tasmanian coroner recommended the B-strain be funded.

Despite the mounting pressure, South Australia remains the only state in the country which funds the B vaccine. 

For now, authorities are calling for the public to take advantage of the current free system, which protects against 4 of the 5 main meningococcal types for those aged between 6 weeks and 20 years of age, while stocks last, from GPs.

Symptoms of the disease include neck stiffness, a skin rash, fever and drowsiness.

 Image: Pixabay