Free Meningococcal Jabs For New South Wales Students Over Next 12 Months

Free Meningococcal Jabs For New South Wales Students Over Next 12 Months

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian

New South Wales Minister for Health Brad Hazzard

More Free Meningococcal Jabs For New South Wales Students

Victor P Taffa

Thousands more New South Wales students will be offered the free meningococcal vaccine in the next 12 months to protect them against the debilitating disease.

As the New South Wales Government launches its awareness campaign this week, Premier Gladys Berejiklian today announced a further $3.6 Million to extend the New South Wales Meningococcal W Response Program, which has provided free vaccine to more than 200,000 teenagers to date.

New South Wales Government has invested $17 Million into the statewide program since it was introduced in 2017 to protect teenagers against the rising threat of the W strain, which has an 8 % mortality rate compared to 4 % for other strains.

“We’re urging parents of Year 10 and 11 students to take advantage of the free vaccine in the next 2 terms to give them long-term protection against 4 strains of this potentially fatal disease.” Premier Berejiklian said.

Federal Government does not currently fund the ACWY vaccine for adolescents under the National Immunisation Program, which is why the New South Wales Government has stepped in to deliver the vaccine.

New South Wales Government is investing a record $22.75 Million in statewide immunisation programs this year. This includes $3.5 Million for free flu shots to children up to 5 years of age and a $1.75 Million immunisation and influenza prevention campaign.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the meningococcal vaccination program targets upper high school students as they are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

“Just one dose of this vaccine provides strong, long-term protection while building immunity in the community and helping prevent the spread of this crippling disease.” Minister Hazzard said.

Meningococcal W cases in New South Wales increased 4-fold between 2014 and 2016 a trend that was reversed after introducing the free vaccinations for students last year.

NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This vaccine has the added benefit of protection against the A, C and Y strains, which don’t occur as frequently but have equally devastating consequences.” Minister Hazzard said.

New South Wales Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant said early treatment for meningococcal disease is vital.

“We’re heading towards early spring when people are most at risk and we tend to see a rise in case numbers.” Dr. Chant said.

“If you experience symptoms including a sudden onset of fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness, joint pain or rash of red-purple spots, go straight to your nearest emergency department to seek help. Acting quickly can save your life.”

 

Abbreviations:

ACWY            Main Strains Causing Meningococcal Disease are A, B, C, W and Y