New Meningococcal vaccine rolled out
Health services within the Territory will begin the roll out of the ACWY Meningococcal vaccine for 12 month old babies from Friday 1 December.
Up until now, 12 month old babies have received a Meningococcal C vaccine. This is being replaced with a vaccine that covers four strains of Meningococcal, including the W strain that has been the focus of an outbreak in Central Australia.
The ‘outbreak meningococcal ACWY vaccine program’ launched in October to vaccinate children aged 1-19 years in Alice Springs, Barkly and Katherine.
This program has been successful in delivering a decrease in cases meningococcal W disease across this region, but Meningococcal W remains the emergent strain in Australia and overseas.
To prevent against further outbreaks all children across the NT will now receive meningococcal ACWY vaccine at 12 months.
Meningococcal disease can be very severe. People infected with it can become extremely unwell within hours of the first symptoms appearing.
Meningococcal W disease can present more broadly than just as meningitis or blood poisoning with symptoms including pneumonia or septic joint presentations.
The free meningococcal ACWY vaccine for 12 months olds will be available from general practitioners, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Clinics, primary health urban clinics and remote health clinics.
It is also important to ensure that babies and children are vaccinated on time for all their childhood vaccines which are given starting at 6 weeks, then at 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and 4 years of age.
For further information on meningococcal disease and immunisation contact your GP, health clinic or your local Centre for Disease Control or visit the NT Health website.