Northern Territory starts a massive Meningococcal vaccine roll out after outbreak.

The Territory Labor Government is improving health services with the roll out of the ACWY Meningococcal vaccine for 12 month old babies from Dec 1.
The Health Minister, Natasha Fyles, said Territorians want and deserve high quality health services and that’s why the Territory government was  providing the meningococcal ACWY vaccine free as part of the routine NT childhood schedule.
“We have listened to the community and experts and taken action to support territory families,” Ms Fyles said.
“Up until now, 12 month old babies have received a Meningococcal C vaccine. We’re replacing it with a vaccine that covers four strains of Meningococcal, including the W strain that has been the focus of an outbreak in Central Australia.”
The government launched it’s ‘outbreak meningococcal ACWY vaccine program’ in October to vaccinate children aged 1-19 years in Alice Springs,
Barkly and Katherine.
Minister Fyles said that program has been successful in delivering a decrease in cases meningococcal W disease across this region, but Meningococcal W remains the emergent strain in Australia and overseas.

“To prevent against further outbreaks all children across the NT will now receive meningococcal ACWY vaccine at 12 months,” Ms Fyles said.

Meningococcal disease can be very severe. People infected with it can become extremely unwell within hours of the first symptoms appearing.

“Meningococcal W disease can present more broadly than just as meningitis or blood poisoning with symptoms including pneumonia or septic joint
presentations.”

The free meningococcal ACWY vaccine for 12 months olds will be available from general practitioners, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Clinics, primary health urban clinics and remote health clinics.

It is also important to ensure that babies and children are vaccinated on time for all their childhood vaccines which are given starting at 6 weeks, then at 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and 4 years of age.

For further information on meningococcal disease and immunisation contact your GP, health clinic or your local Centre for Disease Control or visit the NT website at https://nt.gov.au/wellbeing/healthy-living/immunisation/child-vaccinations (https://nt.gov.au/wellbeing/healthy-living/immunisation/childvaccinations).

SOURCE: NT Government.

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