Qld students get better protection with new vaccine

Grade 10 Calvary Christian College student Zac Speet, 16, gets a Meningococcal vaccination from Nurse Julie Boxsell.

Grade 10 Calvary Christian College student Zac Speet, 16, gets a Meningococcal vaccination from Nurse Julie Boxsell.

Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick last week visited Calvary Christian College to promote the program that allows 15 to 19-year-olds across the state to receive free vaccinations against four strains of meningococcal disease

Mr Dick said more than 300,000 eligible teenagers would have access to the free vaccine in Queensland.

“The vaccination covers the A, C, W and Y strains of meningococcal disease,” Mr Dick said. “Every Queensland Year 10 student will be eligible for the vaccination through the School Immunisation Program in the 2017 school year.

“The vaccine will also be available through GPs and other immunisation providers for 15 to 19-year-olds, until the end of May 2018.”

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said meningococcal W was an emerging strain.

“It’s a very virulent strain and it’s on the rise in Queensland, so anything we can do to combat its rise is a good step.

“Meningococcal Y is also on the increase in Queensland … and this strain is also covered by this vaccine.”

Meningococcal disease can lead to death or long-term health issues including limb deformity, deafness, epilepsy and possible loss of brain function and about 10 per cent of cases are fatal.

Meanwhile, a report released last week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare revealed 2041 North Queensland children were unnecessarily at risk to vaccine-preventable diseases like whooping cough and polio.

The report, Healthy Communities: Immunisation rates for children in 2015-16, showed that 93 per cent of North Queensland one-year-olds, 91.8 per cent of two-year-olds, and 94.1 per cent of five-year-olds were fully immunised in 2015-16, figures all below the national target of 95 per cent.

“Immunisation is a safe and effective way of reducing the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases in the community and protecting against potentially serious health problems,’ AIHW spokesman Michael Frost said.


SOURCE: Rachel Riley Townsville Bulletin

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