13 September 2016

Labor would provide free Meningococcal B vaccines for babies

| Charlotte
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A re-elected ACT Labor Government would provide free Meningococcal B vaccinations for all Canberra babies and make it easier for ACT residents to sign up to be an organ donor, health spokeswoman Meegan Fitzharris has announced today.

Ms Fitzharris said Meningococcal B vaccinations were publicly available but cost hundreds of dollars.

Labor would also continue to supply free antenatal whooping cough vaccinations for Canberra mums.

Nationally there were up to 250 cases of Meningococcal B every year. Most of those who contract the disease were under the age of five, with around 10 per cent of patients losing their lives and 20 per cent left with permanent disabilities by the disease.

All pregnant women in their third trimester in the ACT would continue to have access to free antenatal whooping cough vaccinations – a measure introduced by the ACT Labor Government in 2015.

The vaccines commitment would cost $12.3 million over four years.

In two further health-related promises announced today, Labor committed to offering healthier food options in high school canteens and sporting team venues and to continuing the rollout of free water refill stations across Canberra’s shopping centres.

The organ donation commitment would remove key hurdles in a bid to meet a 90 per cent organ donation rate target.

Under the plan, Canberrans would be assisted to sign up to be a donor at the point they renew their driver’s licence. All the necessary organ donation information would be supplied in advance with licence registration information to allow a fully informed decision. A form with basic details already completed would be available at the time of licence renewal. The Government would send the form to the Federal Organ Donor Register then post an organ donor card to your home address.

A re-elected Labor Government would also establish a national garden of appreciation at the Arboretum to celebrate the gift donors have passed on and the new life recipients have received.

“Over the past year I’ve met brave young Canberrans and organ donation recipients like Ava Bancroft and Harry Irvine,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“They are inspirational young people who are already giving back to their community, and will for decades to come, because they were fortunate enough to receive an organ donation. They give joy every day to their families, and will one day have families of their own, because of the fundamental generosity of a donor.”

“Of course, anyone can choose to opt out. But organ donation is critically important and deserves the ACT Government support to make it easier.”

The reform would be accompanied by an education and awareness raising campaign, developed in consultation with Gift of Life Inc and DonateLife.

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Vaccines should be done on a national level. Unless we’re going to quarantine people coming or going.

Whooping cough vaccinations should be made available to fathers of new borns as well.
Not making it available to fathers puts babies at risk. It wouldn’t cost that much more and would save lives.

What’s really needed is a reporting system to track infection. Its one thing to prevent it with vaccines but wouldn’t it be better not to be exposed to it at all. Especially for young babies.

Any takers?

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