| 27.02,20. 01:06 AM |
Last chance for free vaccine against meningococcal
Young South Australians are being urged to take advantage of the final days of a free vaccination program. (9News)
Victims of the horrific and deadly meningococcal virus have urged young South Australians to get a free vaccine while they can, with just days left before the offer expires.
A vaccine for meningococcal B is now available for free for young adults - but that ends this weekend.
Data given to 9News by SA Health shows that of those aged 17-21, only 36 per cent have taken advantage of the program.
Jay Dohnt was just a teenager when he took a day off from school with a cold - but that turned into a months-long battle for his life.
He lost both his legs and part of his arm as well, and was given just a three per cent chance of survival.
The vaccine was not available to him, and he's urging people to take advantage while they can
"It's a devastating disease, and I know that first-hand," he said.
"The risk of death is real, and the risk of disability is real."
Mum Jill Klemich, who lost her 18-year-old son Jack to the disease, agrees.
"He played football on the Saturday, went to a party, woke up with a headache on the Sunday and died on the Monday, and there were absolutely no symptoms," she said.
"I know kids at that age think 'it won't happen to me', but if you can do it, do it, because you don't realise what it can do for a family."
From Sunday, the only people able to get the vaccine for free will be children aged under one, and school students in Year 10.
Everybody else will have to pay, with prices for the vaccine rising as much as $500.