5000 wait­ing for jab

Western Times - - LIFE -

JUST a year after the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced its “no jab, no play” pol­icy in a bid to com­bat anti-vax­ers, it has emerged 5000 of the state’s chil­dren are on a wait­ing list for a tu­ber­cu­lo­sis vac­cine.

The deadly dis­ease that claimed as many as one in seven Euro­pean lives in the late 19th century has re-emerged out­side Aus­tralia in re­cent years and now kills more peo­ple world­wide each year than HIV/AIDS.

A chronic global short­age of the Bacille Cal­mette Guerin vac­cine meant it was un­avail­able in Aus­tralia for all of 2016 and health au­thor­i­ties are strug­gling to clear the back­log, leav­ing thou­sands of chil­dren with­out de­fence to the wast­ing dis­ease once known as con­sump­tion.

The Com­mon­wealth Health De­part­ment ap­proved the al­ter­na­tive vac­cine, but it can only be ad­min­is­tered by au­tho­rised med­i­cal of­fi­cers.

“This au­tho­ri­sa­tion process has added to the time re­quired to ad­dress wait­lists,” a Queens­land Health spokesman said.

“Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis Con­trol Units are cur­rently work­ing through wait­lists to ad­min­is­ter the vac­cine to el­i­gi­ble chil­dren in or­der of pri­or­ity.”

He said Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der new­born ba­bies were at the top of the pri­or­ity list, fol­lowed by chil­dren aged un­der five who have lived or will live in Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der com­mu­ni­ties for three months or more.

Chil­dren un­der five travelling to one of the 22 “high burden” TB coun­tries listed by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion for more than three months are also given pri­or­ity.

— Kim Stephens

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.