WA tots take lead in meningococcal fight
Trial: Max van Hazel gets the vaccine from research nurse Caroline Talbot as mum Anna holds her son. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Max van Hazel is probably years away from travelling the globe but a quick needle prick now may protect him later from a potentially deadly bacterial infection.

The 13-month-old from Mosman Park is taking part in a trial of a new vaccine for meningococcal disease that protects against more strains, including less common ones found mostly in Africa and Asia.

The combination meningococcal vaccine is already approved for use in Australia but the Telethon Kids Institute is testing it in Perth toddlers to find the best way to futureproof children and young people from outbreaks.

Meningococcal infection can cause meningitis and blood poisoning and can quickly worsen.

Children aged 12 to 14 months who have not yet had their 12-month vaccinations are needed for the research by the institute's vaccine trials group, Princess Margaret Hospital and the University of WA's school of paediatrics and child health.

Study leader Associate Professor Peter Richmond said the vaccine aimed to protect against four strains of meningococcus - A, C, W and Y - with C being the only strain Australian children are vaccinated against under the National Immunisation Program.

Anna van Hazel said she was happy for her son to take part in the study.

The West Australian

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