Free meningococcal vaccine for teenagers

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A free meningococcal ACWY vaccine for 15 to 19-year-olds is now available at GP clinics.

YANCHEP, Butler and Gingin teenagers can now receive the free meningococcal ACWY vaccine at their local GP clinic, making it more convenient and readily accessible during school holidays.

The vaccination program, which will run in Western Australian schools for three years, provides jabs for 15 to 19-year-olds, the group with the highest risk of carrying meningococcal bacteria and transmitting it to others, including young children.

Since the program commenced in term two more than 50,000 WA teenagers have been vaccinated at schools, universities and immunisation clinics.

As the second phase of the staged rollout, the Department of Health has shipped vaccines to GP clinics across WA so it is more readily available for those who may not have received it.

The vaccine will be available at GP clinics free of charge until the end of 2017.

While the vaccine is free, some clinics may charge a consultation fee, so it is advisable to check costs when making an appointment.

In 2018 and 2019, the program will target incoming Year 10 students through a school-based vaccination program.

The ACWY vaccine is also available by prescription to all members of the public but charges apply so speak to your GP clinic at the time of booking to confirm charges.

To date, there have been 22 cases of meningococcal disease this year in WA, including 17 cases due to strains covered by the ACWY vaccine.

Health Minister Roger Cook said the McGowan Government was committed to ensuring teenagers aged 15-19, who had a high risk of carrying, spreading and contracting meningococcal disease, were provided with a vaccine.

“Although meningococcal disease is uncommon, it can be life-threatening,’’ he said.

“I encourage all teenagers to take advantage of this free vaccination program and reduce their risk of contracting or spreading this disease.”