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Free vaccine to protect teenagers

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Monday 14 August 2017

Teenagers aged 15 to 19 at Castlemaine Secondary College have the opportunity to receive a free vaccination to protect them from contracting the potentially deadly meningococcal disease.

Mount Alexander Shire Council is delivering the vaccinations as part of its immunisation program.

The vaccine is part of a state-wide effort to interrupt the spread of the Meningococcal W strain and is funded by the Victorian Government.

“Adolescents are particularly susceptible to meningococcal as it is passed from person to person by regular, close, prolonged household and intimate contact such as kissing, coughing or sharing drinks,” said Tracey Watson, Senior Environmental Health Officer, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

Meningococcal symptoms can vary in infants, children and adults. However they may include loss of appetite, extreme tiredness, discomfort when looking at bright lights, nausea, vomiting, rashes or bruising.

In a small number of people, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause invasive meningococcal disease, which can develop very quickly and causes death in about five to ten per cent of cases.

Ms Watson said the disease is becoming more common.

“In 2014 there were four cases of Meningococcal W reported in Victoria. Last year this number had increased to 48 cases,” she said.

The best protection against the disease is to be vaccinated.

An immunisation session will be held at Castlemaine Secondary College on Tuesday 29 August.

“We have distributed consent cards and we urge parents to complete the forms and return them to the school,” said Ms Watson.

Parental permission is required for immunisation where the student is under 18. Any year 10 student who missed the previous session can still be vaccinated.

For more information please contact Council’s Healthy Environments team on 5471 1768 or visit the Department of Health and Human Services website www.health.vic.gov.au.

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