A vaccination to protect against meningococcal strains A, C, W and Y will be offered to 15-19 year olds in an Australian-first, statewide program to start in school Term 2.
The campaign is in response to a concerning increase in the number of meningococcal W cases in WA and other States and Territories.
The incidence of the W strain has been rising since 2013 but jumped from four in 2015 to 14 last year. This compares with just three cases of meningococcal W in WA during the four-year period to 2014.
Research shows vaccinating 15-19 years olds is the most effective way to prevent the spread of meningococcal.
More than 150,000 WA students and young adults are expected to be vaccinated over the three-year program, with the cost covered by the State Government, making it free to the target group.
This year, the program will provide immunisations in school to year 10, 11, and 12 students, with additional vaccinations conducted at community health clinics to capture 18-19 year olds and other age-eligible persons not attending high school.
In 2018 and 2019, the program will target incoming Year 10 students only.
The school-based vaccination program is expected to begin when sufficient vaccine supplies have been delivered, starting in school Term 2, with the majority of vaccinations planned for Term 3.
Parents can expect to receive meningococcal W vaccination consent materials through their child’s school.
Source: WA Health Department