The Federal Government has launched a national program for 14 to 19 year olds to receive a free meningococcal vaccine, over the next four years.
“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,” Senator Nigel Scullion 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.”
“With the Northern Territory having the highest rates of meningococcal I am pleased that the Country Liberals are rolling out this program to help protect our teenagers from meningococcal,” he said.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said meningococcal is a rare but very serious infection that occurs when meningococcal bacteria from the throat or nose invades the body.
The consequences are devastating for individuals and their families.
“In recent years we have seen a rise in the number of invasive meningococcal disease cases in Australia. In 2017, there were 382 cases reported nationally, compared with 252 cases in 2016 and 182 cases in 2015.” Minister Hunt said.
“Deaths associated with meningococcal disease have also risen, with 28 deaths in 2017, compared with 11 deaths in 2016 and 12 deaths in 2015.”
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