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  • Meningococcal disease is a rare, but serious illness that most commonly presents with meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord) and/or septicaemia (blood poisoning).
  • It is caused by meningococcal bacteria that can spread from person-to-person through close, prolonged or intimate contact.
  • It can affect all age groups but is more common in young children, adolescents and young adults.
  • There are different strains, or serogroups, of meningococcal bacteria.. You can be vaccinated against strains A, B, C, W and Y. Vaccination is the best way to prevent the spread of meningococcal disease.
  • Free meningococcal ACWY vaccine is available for infants at 12 months of age and students in Year 10 of secondary school. Catch-up vaccination is also available for young people under the age of 20 years.
  • Free meningococcal B vaccine is available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants at 2 (from 6 weeks of age), 4 and 12 months of age. Catch-up vaccination is also available for children under the age of 2 years.
  • Meningococcal ACWY vaccine and meningococcal B vaccines are also free for people with specified medical risk conditions that make them more vulnerable to invasive meningococcal disease.
  • Consult your immunisation provider about the best vaccination option for you.

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Reviewed on: 05-07-2023