WA Health Department reminds parents to take advantage of free meningococcal vaccine

Stock image.
Stock image.

ONLY half of WA children under the age of five have been vaccinated against the deadly meningococcal infection, prompting a reminder from the Health Department for parents to get their kids vaccinated before the free program finishes at the end of this year.

The reminder comes after 12 children in that age group were hospitalised with meningococcal disease.

An increase in meningococcal infections in Western Australia in 2016 and 2017 prompted the State Government to announce a free meningococcal ACWY vaccination program for all children aged from one to four-years-old inclusive.

The Federal Government then began offering the ACWY meningococcal vaccine to one-year-olds under the National Immunisation Program.

Children under five, and 15 to 25-year-olds are the age groups at highest risk for meningococcal disease.

The Health Department will be sending out reminders to parents who have not yet had their children vaccinated to ensure their children do not miss out.

More than 70,000 children in the community remain unprotected.

Health Minister Roger Cook said the State’s catch-up program ended on December 31, 2018.