Trauma they can­not for­get

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - JANE HANSEN

Skye Baker knows meningo­coc­cal dis­ease does not dis­crim­i­nate.

Four years ago, she watched her seven-yearold daugh­ter Sarah bat­tle the deadly B strain, hov­er­ing be­tween life and death for days be­fore be­ing one of the few to sur­vive rel­a­tively un­scathed.

Sarah now has hard­won im­mu­nity but Mrs Baker is bat­tling against a short­age of the B strain vac­cine Bexsero to en­sure her other daugh­ter Ally, 12, is sim­i­larly pro­tected.

“I am scared for Ally, I haven’t been able to get it since Oc­to­ber,” Mrs Baker said. “She had one dose in Au­gust last year but she needs an­other dose to be cov­ered. You think light­ning wouldn’t strike twice, but why wouldn’t it?”

The Castle­crag mum said Sarah’s strug­gles haunted her. “I could hardly breathe and there was noth­ing I could do to make her bet­ter.

“Sarah is a story for early de­tec­tion, she has no long-term side ef­fects and we were lucky to get out of it so easy,” she said.

“It pas­sion­ately an­noys me that B is not on the sched­ule, it’s such a sim­ple thing to do and even if you are cal­lous and look­ing at the dis­abled child af­ter the dis­ease, why wouldn’t you vac­ci­nate against some­thing that doesn’t give you a sec­ond chance?

“It is panic sta­tions in re­gard to the W strain but ev­ery­one is be­ing com­pla­cent about B strain, you never for­get it.”

Skye Baker with Ally and Sarah. Pic­ture: Sam Rut­tyn

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