‘Very stupid’ to reject vaccines
The parents of high-profile WA meningococcal victim Amanda Young have challenged anti-vaccination “nutters” to spend a day in their lives, 20 years after their daughter’s death.
Amanda died on October 12, 1997, after contracting the disease at an inter-varsity rowing regatta in Penrith, NSW. It was a month after the budding athlete and star student’s 18th birthday.
In an exclusive interview to mark the anniversary of her death, Barry and Lorraine Young made a raw plea to officials and parents to push stronger vaccination policies and awareness.
They did not want others to suffer the pain they had carried for two decades.
“I’d like to swap places with them,” Mr Young said, lamenting that fact the vaccine for the C-strain that killed his daughter was not available until five years after she died.
“Vaccine has got the potential to put meningococcal out of business. Amanda Young’s father
“That’s really the only ultimate answer.”
As three new meningococcal cases, all different strains, were reported this week, Mrs Young agreed.
“You get the anti-vaxxers who say it’s not good . . . they’re nutters,” she said.
“Anybody who doesn’t make themselves available for something that is so useful are very, very stupid. So you just ignore them and keep going. Amanda had every vaccination that was available right up to the time she died. Awareness and knowledge of the disease is important and to be vaccinated, that’s the only way.”
This week’s new cases of meningococcal disease — two children and an elderly adult — took the number of those infected in WA to 16 since July, including Albany 19-year-old Lloyd Dunham, who died in August and Kalgoorlie man Dean Haynes, 20, who survived.
A vaccine against C strains of the disease is provided free to children at 12 months. A vaccine against meningococcal B infection and a combined vaccine for A, C, W and Y strains are available on prescription.
Teenagers between 15 and 19 can get the vaccine free until December as part of a funded State-wide program.
Mr Young said he had been encouraged by indications from Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt that funding could soon be made available for the $65 ACWY vaccine to be given free to children from 12 months of age. He also hoped vaccination for the B-strain, which comes in four doses at $125 each, could also be included. Details of where 15-19-year-olds can get a free meningococcal ACWY vaccine are at http:// healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/ J_M/Meningococcal-vaccine
‘Vaccine has got the potential to put meningococcal out of business.’