Push to vaccinate Territory youths
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.