TO help protect young children from the devastating consequences of meningococcal, quad-strain vaccine will be added to the National Immunisation Program.
The new vaccine (Nimenrix) covers against A, C, W and Y strains (MenACWY) and will be added to the NIP ahead of the next peak meningococcal season.
Canning MHR Andrew Hastie said the decision from the Federal Government would make a big difference for local families.
“Adding the Nimenrix vaccine to the National Immunisation Program means it will be freely available for Australian infants,” he said.
“Meningococcal is a rare but very serious infection that occurs when meningococcal bacteria from the throat or nose ‘invade’ the body.
“The consequences are devastating for individuals and for their families.”
Mr Hastie said there had been an increase in the number of invasive meningococcal cases in Australia.
“In 2017, there were 382 cases reported nationally, compared with 252 cases in 2016 and 182 cases in 2015,” he said.
“Deaths associated with meningococcal have also risen, with 28 deaths in 2017, compared with 11 deaths in 2016 and 12 deaths in 2015.”
“Currently, infants aged 12 months are given a single-strain Meningococcal C vaccine.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt said upgrading to the quad-strain was great news for parents and infants.