Teens urged to get meningococcal vaccine this Spring

needle vaccination injection stock image

Victorian teenagers aged 15 or 16 are being encouraged to take advantage of the Victorian Government’s free meningococcal vaccine program as the springtime peak period for the disease nears.

The warning comes as new data shows meningococcal cases in Victoria are on the decline. The number of confirmed cases has dropped by 36 per cent, with 37 cases reported in 2018 compared with 58 for the same period in 2017.

In 10 per cent of cases, meningococcal disease is fatal, with death occurring within 24 to 48 hours of diagnosis. About a fifth of those who survive the disease are left with permanent disability such as brain damage, or the loss of fingers, toes or limbs.

Young people aged 15 or 16 are the age cohort most likely to be carriers of the disease and are therefore at greater risk of spreading it to others.

The free vaccine is available for Victorian teenagers aged 15 or 16 up until the end of 2018, either at school immunisation sessions, local councils or at the local GP.

Source: Vic Government