Meningococcal W Vaccination Program For 15-19 Year Old Teenagers

Meningococcal W Vaccination Program For 15-19 Year Old Teenagers

Tasmania Minister for Health Michael Ferguson

Meningococcal W Vaccination For Older Teens

Victor P Taffa

Hodgman Government will roll out a free meningococcal W vaccination program in Tasmania for older teenagers aged 15 to 19, Minister for Health Michael Ferguson said.

Meningococcal W has increased significantly across Australia in the last 2 years. 5 cases have been reported in Tasmania so far this year.

Meningococcal disease is a rare but severe infection that can cause lifelong disability in up to 20 % of cases and death in 5 to 10 % of cases.

Under the new program more than 33,000 15 to 19 year old Tasmanian teenagers will be eligible to receive a 4-antigen vaccine, which will provide protection against meningococcal A, C, W and Y strains.

10 % of healthy individuals carry the meningococcal bacteria in their nose and throat.

Older teenagers are particularly at risk of carrying and transmitting the bacteria to others. Bacteria cannot survive outside the body and does not spread easily from shared drinks, food or cigarettes.

Tasmania joins New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia in implementing a meningococcal W vaccination program for older teenagers in 2017 and 2018.

Free meningococcal W vaccination program will begin during term three of 2017 for students in Year 10, 11 and 12 in public, private and Catholic high schools and colleges.

For older teenagers who have left school to attend further education, training or work, the free vaccine will be available from their GP from August 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018.

Free meningococcal W vaccination program will continue in 2018 with Year 10 students in high school receiving the vaccine in term one.

“Health Department is liaising with schools and councils to progress implementation of the program.” Mr. Ferguson said.