Quad-strain meningococcal vaccine to be added to National Immunisation Program

Jab to save lives: A new vaccine will further protect children against meningococcal.

Jab to save lives: A new vaccine will further protect children against meningococcal.

Children will benefit from an extra vaccine to protect them from contracting a potentially fatal infection.

The federal government has added a quad-strain meningococcal vaccine to the National Immunisation Program.

The vaccine (Nimenrix) covers against A, C, W and Y strains and has been added to the program ahead of the next peak meningococcal season which, based on previous years, is expected to be in the second half of the year. 

Meningococcal is a rare but serious infection that occurs when meningococcal bacteria from the throat or nose invades the body. 

In recent years there has been a rise in invasive meningococcal cases in Australia.

In 2017, there were 382 cases reported nationally, compared with 252 cases in 2016 and 182 cases in 2015.

Deaths associated with meningococcal have also risen, with 28 deaths in 2017, compared with 11 deaths in 2016 and 12 deaths in 2015.

Currently, infants aged 12 months are given a single-strain meningococcal C vaccine. 

In March 2018, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee will consider the listing of a vaccine for adolescents.

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