Father of meningococcal victim urges use of free vaccine in Fremantle

Dr David Rutherford and registered nurse Helen De Kleine from Travel Health Plus with Notre Dame  physiotherapy students Aliisha Cleary, Letisha Carozza and Matthew Lauw. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au   d472111
Dr David Rutherford and registered nurse Helen De Kleine from Travel Health Plus with Notre Dame physiotherapy students Aliisha Cleary, Letisha Carozza and Matthew Lauw. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d472111

THE father of an 18-year-old woman who passed away from meningococcal disease has urged local teenagers to accept the free vaccine being offered in Fremantle.

Barry Young’s daughter Amanda was just 18 when she died from the meningococcal she contracted during a rowing regatta trip to Penrith in 1997.

He said they established the Amanda Young Foundation with the aim of reducing the amount of deaths stemming from meningococcal, something the vaccine, which are being offered free to those aged 15-19, could help with.

“In WA in recent years the number of cases of W and Y strain meningococcal has risen and research studies believe that this is likely to continue, so we are fortunate that the ACWY vaccine is available to combat them,” he said.

“We urge them to avail themselves of this potentially life saving opportunity-the W strain is particularly nasty and prevention is far better than cure.”

Fremantle’s Travel Health Plus will be teaming up with the University of Notre Dame and the Department of Health to offer the free vaccine locally.

Travel Health Plus’s David Rutherford said while the campus clinics were targeted at Notre Dame students they would be able to give the vaccine to anyone not at Notre Dame through their South Street clinic.

“It presents as a flu like illness, rapidly gets worse and has a high mortality rate,” he said.

“Given my passion in this area, my first hand experience with the disease and the fact that we have a free, effective and long lasting vaccine with minimal side effects, I believe it to be a great opportunity for students to be vaccinated.”

On campus clinics will be held on the week starting August 21.