To help protect our youngest children on the Mid North Coast from the devastating consequences of meningococcal, the federal Coalition will add a quad-strain vaccine to the National Immunisation Program.
Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker, said the new vaccine Nimenrix covers against A, C, W and Y strains and will be added to the NIP ahead of the next peak meningococcal season which is expected to be in the second half of the year.
“Meningococcal is a rare but very serious infection that occurs when meningococcal bacteria from the throat or nose ‘invades’ the body. The consequences are devastating for individuals and for their families.” Mr Hartsuyker said.
In 2017, there were 382 cases reported nationally, compared with 252 cases in 2016 and 182 cases in 2015, he said.
“Deaths associated with meningococcal have also risen, with 28 deaths in 2017, compared with 11 deaths in 2016.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt said upgrading to the quad-strain is great news for parents and infants, but it’s only the first step in the broader approach to reduce the impact of meningococcal.
In March 2018, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee will consider the listing of a quad vaccine for adolescents, Minister Hunt said. “We are committed to strengthening Australia’s world-class national vaccination program and we urge all Australian parents and carers to have their children vaccinated.”
Mr Hartsuyker said that unlike Labor, the Coalition has a policy of funding all medicines recommended by PBAC. “This is part of our rock sold commitment to making medicines accessible, and because immunisation is critical to maintaining public health and preventing the outbreak of infectious diseases.”
Vaccination is an effective and safe tool to prevent the spread of many diseases that cause hospitalisation, serious ongoing health problems and sometimes death. For information go to immunisationfacts.gov.au