News

Remote communities to receive free meningococcal vaccinations

20 October 2017

The Department of Health announced it will provide vaccinations against meningococcal disease to people living in certain remote communities, in response to an outbreak of serogroup W (MenW) meningococcal disease in central Australia.

Aboriginal people
A free meningococcal vaccination program is available for people in certain remote communities

The outbreak has mostly affected Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory (NT) and northern part of South Australia (SA), with one related case reported in WA.

The free vaccination program aims to provide people in the remote communities bordering the NT and SA with direct protection against 4 types of meningococcal bacteria – A, C, W and Y.

The program will also help prevent further spread of the strains causing disease by decreasing the numbers of people who harmlessly carry the bacteria in the back of their throats.

In Western Australia there have been 29 confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in 2017, including 14 cases of serogroup W infection.

The State-funded program is a targeted public health initiative formed in response to public health concerns about an increased risk of disease in communities that have strong cultural links with the NT.

The vaccination will be offered to people of all ages within the communities in the northern and eastern Goldfields, and the Western Desert areas of the Kimberley and the Pilbara regions to maximise the immediate protective effect of the vaccine in the shortest possible time.

The vaccinations will be delivered by WA Country Health Services and Aboriginal community-controlled health services. The vaccination program will conclude on 17 December 2017.

Read more about meningococcal disease and frequently asked questions (external site) on the vaccination program.

View the post vaccination advice (external site).