National Immunisation Program to add free meningococcal vaccine for teens

Stock image.
Stock image.

TEENAGERS will be able to get free meningococcal vaccinations through a $52 million national program from April 2019.

The Federal Government launched the four-year program for 14 to 19 year olds to receive the meningococcal A, C, W and Y vaccine on Tuesday.

“It will be added to the National Immunisation Program from April 2019 and provided to students aged 14 to 16 years under a school-based program,” Pearce MHR Christian Porter said.

“Adolescents aged 15 to 19 years of age, who have not already received the vaccine in school, will be able to receive the vaccine through an ongoing GP-based catch-up program.”

MORE: 26 WA meningococcal cases reported so far in 2018

Meningococcal is a rare but very serious infection that occurs when meningococcal bacteria from the throat or nose invades the body.

The announcement followed a recommendation from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee to list the meningococcal A, C, W and Y vaccine for adolescents.

Mr Porter said the announcement built on a strong vaccination program.

“Every 12-month-old in the country is now offered a free ACWY meningococcal vaccine and every mother is given the opportunity to vaccinate against whooping cough with a free vaccine,” he said.

“Vaccination works and is an effective and safe tool to prevent the spread of many diseases that cause hospitalisation, serious ongoing health conditions and sometimes death.”

Visit www.health.gov.au/immunisation.