South Western Times - - Front Page -

STU­DENTS at the Edith Cowan Univer­sity South West cam­pus aged 18 to 19 years were given ac­cess to free meningo­coc­cal vac­ci­na­tions last week as part of a Statewide pro­gram to vac­ci­nate all 15 to 19-year-olds this year.

The vac­cine con­tains pro­tec­tion against the ACWY strains of meningo­coc­cal in­fec­tion.

There have been in­creas­ing num­bers of meningo­coc­cal in­fec­tions across WA over the past 18 months.

In 2017, WA has recorded 26 con­firmed cases and the South West has had one case in a young baby. WA Coun­try Health Ser­vice re­gional im­mu­ni­sa­tion co­or­di­na­tor Nancy Birch said the num­ber of con­firmed cases of the W and Y strain had risen sig­nif­i­cantly in 18 months.

“These newer strains are prov­ing to be harder to treat and can progress more quickly than other forms of meningo­coc­cal in­fec­tion,” she said.

“This means they are much more likely to cause se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tions and even death.”

“The best way to pre­vent these dis­eases is through vac­ci­na­tion. The free vac­ci­na­tion of­fered to 15 to 19-year-olds will cease at end of De­cem­ber 2017 so it’s re­ally im­por­tant this age group is vac­ci­nated now.”

Stu­dents in Year 10 in 2018 and 2019 will be of­fered vac­ci­na­tion at school in 2018 and 2019.

Peo­ple from other age groups can ac­cess the vac­cine by see­ing a doc­tor for a pre­scrip­tion.

Ms Birch and her team also vis­ited the South Re­gional TAFE Bun­bury cam­pus to ad­min­is­ter vac­ci­na­tions on Wed­nes­day.

For in­quiries about meningo­coc­cal, con­tact your doc­tor or com­mu­nity health cen­tre.

Pic­ture: Jon Gell­weiler

Pub­lic health nurse Deb­bie Gual­ter ad­min­is­ters univer­sity stu­dent Alish Jury with a free meningo­coc­cal vac­cine.

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