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Tas Government announces free vaccines to tackle meningococcal outbreak


Amanda Lyons


26/07/2018 3:44:24 PM

Tasmanians aged under 21 will be able to access a vaccination program against four strains of meningococcal disease over the next three months.

Five cases of meningococcal disease have been reported at the Royal Hobart Hospital in less than two weeks. (Image: Dave Hunt)
Five cases of meningococcal disease have been reported at the Royal Hobart Hospital in less than two weeks. (Image: Dave Hunt)

Five cases of meningococcal disease have been reported at the Royal Hobart Hospital in just under two weeks, with one resulting in the death of a teenage girl.
 
There has been strong criticism from community groups and the Tasmanian state opposition about perceived secrecy surrounding the meningococcal outbreak, as well as the potential costs of vaccination for concerned parents.
 
The state government has now confirmed an expansion of the vaccination program against strains A, C, W and Y for all Tasmanians under 21 years of age, with a particular focus on Hobart’s northern suburbs, where the majority of the cases originated.
 
This comes after Tasmanian Director of Public Health Dr Mark Veitch revealed the strains of meningococcal disease found in the patients earlier this week, as well as further details about their cases.
 
‘The strain of meningococcal disease contracted by a 16-year-old girl who died while undergoing medical treatment was meningococcal W,’ he said. ‘The strain contracted by the 20-year-old man was meningococcal B. This confirms that these cases were not linked.
 
‘In both instances, these were the first case of each strain of meningococcal disease to occur in Tasmania in 2018.’
 
RACGP President and Tasmanian GP Dr Bastian Seidel believes that ‘political point-scoring’ and assigning blame has been unhelpful in terms of trying to combat the problem.
 
‘Now is the time to work together, to get clinicians on board and communities on board to protect Tasmania from the very serious meningococcal disease,’ Dr Seidel told ABC Hobart.



Meningococcal disease Tasmania vaccination





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