The Department of Health has announced a free meningococcal immunisation clinic will be held this weekend (Sat 18 Aug and Sun 19 Aug) at the Derwent Entertainment Centre as part of the public health response to a localised outbreak of meningococcal W disease in the Greater Hobart area.
The clinic will provide meningococcal ACWY (‘Men W’) vaccine to people aged between six weeks up to 21 years (born after 1 August, 1997).
Eligible people who want to attend the clinic must make a booking. Booking details are via a Trybooking link. You must book and bring your ticket or you will be unable to attend the clinic.
The clinic will be open from 9am until 7pm on Saturday 18 August and from 9am until 6pm on Sunday 19 August.
If you are going to attend a clinic, please ensure you allow plenty of time to attend the clinic as there may be unexpected delays. You will also be expected to stay for 15 minutes after the vaccination, for your safety so staff can check for any reaction to the vaccination. You will also need to bring your Medicare card that has your listed child on it.
Please be patient and respectful of staff and follow their directions. They are there to help you.
These clinics are for eligible people who live or spend significant time in the areas of New Town, Moonah and Glenorchy.
These immunisations will also be available free from a range of providers including general practitioners and, from next week, authorised pharmacist immunisers, throughout Tasmania over the next three months.
Please note: This is a Department of Health initiative and Glenorchy City Council is assisting.
A fact sheet on Meningococcal Disease can be found here.
An announcement regarding an extension to the Meningococcal Vaccination program was made on 26 July 2018 by The Minister for Health Michael Ferguson and Director of Public Health Dr Mark Veitch. Media release can be found below.
Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health
Dr Mark Veitch, Director of Public Health
Extending free vaccination program against meningococcal disease
The State Government is extending the free vaccination program against meningococcal disease to every Tasmanian aged between six weeks and 20 years.
Following the fifth confirmed case of meningococcal disease in the Hobart area, we are moving to boost the public health response immediately.
Testing indicates four people have contracted the W strain of the disease, including one person who died. There has been one confirmed case of meningococcal B, a 20-year-old man who has been released from hospital.
Based on advice from public health experts, the current vaccination program will be extended to include all Tasmanians aged between six weeks and 20 years (those born from August 1, 1997). This cohort has been identified as the group at greatest risk of contracting and spreading the disease.
Public Health is in the process of mobilising the extended vaccination program. The first stage will focus on the area where a number of meningococcal disease cases has occurred – Hobart’s northern suburbs - and will then be expanded across the state in the following weeks.
The broader program announced today will see eligible Tasmanians receive a free meningococcal vaccine from either a general practitioner, a pharmacist (for children aged 10 and over), special public clinics, and some high schools. The vaccine will cover the meningococcal strains A, C, W and Y.
Last year, in response to a noticeable increase in meningococcal W cases, the State Government intervened with an ACWY immunisation program for 15 to 19-year-olds. Meningococcal ACWY vaccine was later included in the National Immunisation Program as a routine vaccine at age 12 months.
The Government will continue to work with Public Health experts to consider coverage for all vaccine-preventable strains.
Meningococcal disease is a rare but serious condition. Typically in Tasmania, there are five to six cases a year. Last year, there were 16 confirmed cases.
Meningococcal bacteria are spread through secretions of the nose and throat, and older teenagers are particularly at risk of carrying and transmitting the bacteria to others.
It remains important for the public to be aware of the symptoms of meningococcal disease such as fever, severe headache, severe muscle pain, and quickly becoming unusually unwell. Late in the illness there can be a rash. Infants can be lethargic, floppy and feed poorly.
Anyone who is concerned that they may be showing symptoms of meningococcal disease should seek emergency medical care.
Further information is available online at http://www.health.tas.gov.au or via the Public Health Hotline: 1800 671 738.