'It took two hours for meningococcal to take our baby'

Six month old Jordan Braddock died on Sunday.
Six month old Jordan Braddock died on Sunday. Photo: Go Fund Me

It took just two hours for meningococcal B to claim the life of six-month-old baby, Jordan Braddock, who died in hospital on Sunday morning. 

His devastated South Australian family say they had no idea how deadly the strain of meningococcal was and are calling on the government to make the vaccination routine - and free - for all babies. Only vaccination against meningococcal C is currently included in the National Immunisation Program Schedule.

Speaking to 7 news, Jordan's distraught parents explained that when they put their little one to bed on Saturday night he was smiling and enjoying his milk. By Sunday morning, however, he was "listless and quiet". After being rushed to the GP by his worried mum, the pair were sent to Emergency.

Just 30 minutes later, Jordan's body was covered in a rash. Two hours later, as doctors prepared to airlift him to Adelaide, he stopped breathing and was unable to be saved.

"We miss and love you Jordan,' his father Doc Braddock wrote in a post to Facebook on Monday. "We are truly gutted and feel sick and distraught. Alexis misses and loves her little brother. You are taken way too soon.

"Why us, it's so cruel."

Paul Goodfellow, who was previously affected by meningococcal B, believes the vaccination, which has been licensed in Australia since 2014, should be available to everyone.

"It's just horrible, it shouldn't happen," he told 7 News. "There's a medication, there's something you can have for it, so I really think that it should be available to anyone and everyone."

General Practitioner Dr Rod Pearce told 7 News that it costs around $350 for a six-month-old child to be fully vaccinated against meningocccoal B. The vaccination is currently available via private script and given in four doses - at two, four, six and 12 months of age.

"The jab is expensive, but like anything involving your kids' health, you wouldn't hesitate, you'd get it done. We'd heard of whooping cough and had the jab for that, but we simply didn't know about this disease," Mr Braddock told that's life!

According to a paper published in The Medical Journal of Australia in November 2017, which looked at age-related incidence of invasive meningococcal B disease in Australia, between 1999–2015, the incidence of the disease has increased in South Australia, while remaining stable in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.

"Our epidemiological data indicate that the morbidity and mortality of MenB disease are greatest during infancy, particularly the first 8 months of life," the authors wrote, recommending that infants and other at risk populations, receive the MenB vaccination "despite scheduling challenges and concerns about vaccine reactions, especially fever."

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The authors also noted that since the vaccination for meningococcal C had been added to the National Immunisation Program in 2003, the incidence of group C meningococcal disease in Australia had remained very low among both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
"Parents and doctors can understandably have a very emotional response to reports of children dying or suffering severe disabilities from meningococcal B," senior author paediatric infectious diseases professor Peter McIntyre told Fairfax Media at the time. "For parents, the issue is not about cost-effectiveness overall but how bad is this and should I be worried about it?"

"Our paper tries to give a sense of how severe meningococcal B is, and how concerned doctors and parents should be."

Signs of meningococcal disease are non-specific and may include sudden onset of fever, headache, neck stiffness, joint pain, a rash of red-purple spots or bruises, dislike of bright lights nausea and vomiting. Symptoms in younger children may include irritability, difficulty waking, high-pitched crying, and refusal to eat.

Family friends have established a Go Fund Me account to raise money for Jordan's funeral, with over $5000 collected thus far. In an updated post to Facebook on Wednesday, Mr Braddock thanked those who had made donations, sharing that it had brought tears to their eyes.

"Thanks we love you all," he wrote.

For more information visit  Meningococcal Australia