The Australian Government has added a new Meningococcal ACWY vaccine to The National Immunisation Program, proposed to start in July 2018.
Meningococcal disease can be devastating for young children, and those under 5 years of age are at the highest risk.
In recent years we have seen a rise in the number of invasive meningococcal cases in Australia. In 2017 there were 382 cases reported nationally, compared with 252 cases in 2016 and 182 cases in 2015. This is the highest recorded rate of meningococcal disease since 2005.
The current immunisation schedule includes vaccination for meningococcal C, but we are seeing increasing frequency of other strains such as B, W and Y.
What does the new Vaccine protect against?
The new vaccine (Nimenrix) will protect against A, C,W and Y strains. It is due to be added to the schedule in July 2018 for children aged 12 months, will be a single dose, and is safe to be given at the same time as other routine immunisations.
Nimenrix is already widely available from pharmacies with a prescription from your GP (cost is about $55). If your child is aged 12 months or approaching their 12 month immunisations, please discuss with your GP.