Protecting More Victorian Teens From Meningococcal

02 February 2018

The Andrews Labor Government is extending a free meningococcal vaccination program so even more young Victorians can be protected against the deadly disease.

This follows the inaction from the Turnbull Government which continues to shirk its responsibility leaving young people behind in the fight against this disease.

Visiting Traralgon Secondary College, Minister for Health Jill Hennessy and Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing today announced the Government will deliver $1.5 million to extend free meningococcal ACWY vaccines for young people in Year 10 of secondary school until 31 December 2018.

Last year, the Labor Government delivered the free vaccination to 200,000 young Victorians, and this year we will continue to fund the gap while waiting for the Turnbull Government to start pulling their weight.

While Malcolm Turnbull fails to act, we’re seeing the reported cases of meningococcal continue to rise – from 56 in 2015 to 89 in 2017.

The Labor Government’s funding will mean free meningococcal vaccines for all young people in Year 10 of secondary school, as well as those young people not in secondary school but of an equivalent age (15 or 16 years old).

They will be able to get the vaccine at school, at their GP or through their local council immunisation session and they’ll be protected against four strains of meningococcal disease, ‘A’, ‘C’, ‘W’ and ‘Y’.

Although uncommon, meningococcal disease can become life-threatening very quickly. The infection can develop very quickly and can kill in 24 to 48 hours. It is spread by close, prolonged household and intimate contact. In a small number of people, the bacteria can enter the blood stream and cause invasive meningococcal disease.

While the Turnbull Government has finally announced it will fund this vaccine for children – it still refuses to do the same for teenagers, who are at an increased risk.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“We will continue to deliver the free vaccine to young Victorians because we know teenagers are at increased risk and are more likely to spread the disease to others.”

“It’s time Malcolm Turnbull did the same for teenagers, who are at an increased risk. There’s no excuses – he needs to step up and fund the gap.”

Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing

“Our local schools, GPs and councils will be working with students and families to offer this free life-saving vaccine to young Victorians, and help protect the wider community by reducing the spread of the disease.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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