Wheatbelt teens free vaccine opportunity

Wheatbelt teenagers aged 15 to 19 years are encouraged to get the free meningococcal ACWY vaccine to help protect them and others against this serious disease.

Last month, Minister for Health Roger Cook announced the three-year state-wide vaccination program, which targets teenagers who are most at risk of developing the disease.

Phase one starts in school term two in some secondary schools and all Aboriginal medical services for year 10, 11 and 12 students.

Phase two commences in school term three across WA for year 10, 11 and 12 students and university students at on-campus medical centres.

Phase three starts in school term four with GP surgery vaccination (subject to vaccine availability) for year 10, 11 and 12 students who missed their school vaccination in terms two or three, and teenagers aged 15 to 19 who are not at school or university.

People turning 20 before early October 2017 should contact local Population Health Unit before their birthday to ask how they can receive their free vaccine.

In 2018 and 2019, the program will target incoming year 10 students only.

WA Country Health Service Wheatbelt Public Health Physician Dr Naru Pal said meningococcal disease is an uncommon, life-threatening illness caused by a bacterial infection of the blood and/or the membranes that line the spinal cord and brain, and occasionally of other sites.

“The vaccine will help protect teenagers against meningococcal, and minimise the spread of the disease,” Dr Pal said.