According to local news site newsbook, Minister Chris Fearne said that the Department of Health is in the process of making the vaccine for Meningitis B available free of charge in Malta this year. However in reality the vaccine that was being referred to was Meningitis B Pneumococcus; i.e. Prevnar.
The article caused confusion since it followed efforts made by mums, mainly through social media, to reach out to each other, medical professionals and the government to make the vaccine available in Malta.
According to The Times of Malta, a couple of weeks ago, the shortage was likely to persist mainly because of the fact that there needs to be enough stock for boosters so before sufficient doses are available, according to a local representative of Glaxo Smith Kline.
Around two months ago, news emerged that a one-year-old baby died of Meningitis B in Malta after contracting the disease that affects the lining around the brain and spinal cord.
According to Paediatrician Joseph Mizzi, there are about 5 cases of meningitis B every year in Malta and most of them are cured. Dr. Mizzi also urges parents to take all necessary precautions when giving the vaccine privately, making sure the vaccine was kept at the right temperature when transported to Malta.
The signs of meningitis are fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, vomiting, dislike of bright light and drowsiness. Infants and younger children may not always show such symptoms but, instead, feed poorly or become very lethargic. If your child has these symptoms, seek urgent medical help immediately.