Push to vac­ci­nate Ter­ri­tory youths

NT News - - NEWS - RAPHAELLA SAROUKOS

AS SCHOOL ap­proaches, health au­thor­i­ties are urg­ing Ter­ri­tory par­ents to get their chil­dren vac­ci­nated for meningo­coc­cal dis­ease.

Cen­tre for Dis­ease Con­trol (CDC) di­rec­tor Dr Vicki Krause said more work needed to be done to have chil­dren ad­min­is­tered with the ACWY vac­cine.

Dr Krause said since the ACWY roll­out in Oc­to­ber 2017, 37,608 kids or 55 per cent of Ter­ri­tory youths have been vac­ci­nated.

The vac­cine is free for one to 19-year-olds and is avail­able from health clin­ics. Chil­dren aged up to five have reached a cov­er­age of 74 per cent.

Chil­dren from age six to 15 years old have a cov­er­age of 50 per cent.

Dr Krause said Ter­ri­to­ri­ans needed to tar­get all ages but specif­i­cally 16 to 19-year-olds, a co­hort which has a cov­er­age of 40 per cent.

“This age group is one of the high­est for get­ting and trans­mit­ting the dis­ease,” she said.

Dr Krause said Cen­tral Aus­tralia had achieved al­most 100 per cent cov­er­age since the ACWY vac­cine roll­out.

She said the meningo­coc­cal out­break in 2017, dur­ing which more than 25 adults and chil­dren con­tracted in­va­sive meningo­coc­cal, spurred lo­cals to get vac­ci­nated.

For peo­ple out­side the free vac­cine age group, Dr Krause said the ACWY vac­cine was on the pri­vate mar­ket for $45 to $65.

“There is a free vac­cine that will pro­tect you from a very se­ri­ous and pre­ventable dis­ease,” she said.

She said the CDC was con­tin­u­ing its fierce cam­paign to spread aware­ness.

“We are cer­tainly keep­ing up the pres­sure and us­ing all av­enues to pro­mote the vac­cine,” she said.

“Ev­ery­one has to pro­mote this vac­cine. Word of mouth is the best way to make sure ev­ery­one knows it’s there to pro­tect them and the com­mu­nity.

“We want health care providers to make sure they of­fer it to pa­tients and clien­tele.

“When school goes back let­ters will be sent to all par­ents.

“There will also be a roll­out for stu­dents in Year Nine in some schools.”

Dr Krause said a short visit to the doc­tor was worth get­ting a vac­cine which, at this stage, only needed to be ad­min­is­tered once in a life­time.

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