Free vaccine for children

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Pilbara children will receive free meningococcal vaccines after a Statewide program was announced last week.

Children aged one to five can now a receive free meningococcal ACWY vaccine to help protect them and others.

To ensure all children have the opportunity to receive the vaccine, additional immunisation clinics have been put on at community health sites across the Pilbara.

Last year, WA had 46 cases of meningococcal disease, six of which were fatal, with the highest incidence of infection in younger children aged one to five.

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WA Country Health Service Pilbara clinical nurse specialist for public health Jodie Bennett said meningococcal disease was an uncommon, life-threatening illness caused by a bacterial infection of the blood and/or membranes that line the spinal cord and brain.

“The vaccine will help protect children against meningococcal strain A, C, W and Y and minimise the spread of disease,” she said.

Signs of the disease include high fever, chills, headache, neck stiffness, nausea and vomiting, drowsiness, confusion and severe muscle and joint pains.

Symptoms may also be accompanied by the appearance of a spotty red-purple rash.

For information, contact the Central Immunisation Clinic on 9321 1312.

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