90,000 Doses Ordered For Meningococcal Vaccination Program

90,000 Doses Ordered For Meningococcal Vaccination Program

Tasmania Minister for Health Michael Ferguson

Update On Extending Free Vaccination Program Against Meningococcal Disease

Victor P Taffa

State Government’s expanded meningococcal W vaccine program is rolling out as part of a rapid mobilisation, Minister for Health Michael Ferguson said.

An extra 6,500 doses of the vaccine have landed in Tasmania this afternoon. This vaccine will be delivered to GP’s, commencing today, in the area from New Town through to Glenorchy where 3 of the 4 meningococcal W disease cases have occurred.

“State Government has ordered a further 90,000 doses to ensure adequate supply state-wide, with delivery to Tasmania expected to commence next week.” Minister Ferguson said.

“Providers will be kept up to date about when these will reach their clinic.”

Privately-provided supplies from individual pharmacies may have been limited in recent weeks due to increased demand, but this will not affect the vaccination program.

Free vaccines under the extended program will be distributed to immunisers, including GP’s, pharmacists, and council clinics as the full program rolls out over coming weeks.

Information on the extended program has already been provided to:

  • 800 GP’s
  • 160 Community Pharmacies
  • 196 public school Principals
  • 38 Catholic Schools
  • 29 Independent Schools
  • All Councils
  • More than 260 Early Childhood Education and Care Directors

Information will also be provided to child health centre staff today.

Social media from the Department of Health has reached more than 137,000 people, with more than 1,400 shares.

Tasmanians are to be commended for working with Government and public health authorities to share this important information so it reaches everyone in the State.

Advertisements will appear in the State’s three newspapers this weekend, followed by radio and television advertisements in the coming weeks to inform the public about when and where the vaccine is available.

In addition, information posters and pamphlets will be distributed across the State from next week to ensure Tasmanians are aware of the program, while the Premier and Minister will also write to every household in the State.

Information will also be distributed through GP clinics, childcare centres, schools, councils, pharmacies, Service Tasmania and be displayed in public healthcare buildings.

“We are fast-tracking training for pharmacists about the particular vaccines being used so they can deliver the vaccine to children aged 10 and over.” Minister Ferguson said.

GP clinics are the current priorities for delivery of the vaccine, while the process of working with pharmacist immunisers, schools, and establishing larger clinics is underway.

“We thank all our immunisation providers for their assistance as we undertake this very large logistical exercise.” Minister Ferguson said.

Meningococcal W vaccine program follows the fourth recent confirmed case of meningococcal W disease in the Hobart area on Wednesday this week. There have been no further confirmed cases of meningococcal disease since then.

It remains important for the public to be aware of the symptoms of meningococcal disease, such as fever, severe headache, severe muscle pain, and quickly becoming unusually unwell.

Late in the illness, there can be a rash. Infants can be lethargic, floppy and feed poorly. Anyone who is concerned that they may be showing symptoms of meningococcal disease should seek emergency medical care.