We at GippSport are supporting the Victorian Government in the introduction of a free, time-limited vaccination program for young people aged 15-19 in Victoria to combat a recent rise in cases of deadly strains of meningococcal disease.

The vaccine is safe and effective and free until 31 December at secondary schools, local council immunization sessions, or at the doctor.

Young people receiving the meningococcal vaccine will be protected against the recently prominent ‘W’ strain of the disease, as well as three other strains (‘A’, ‘C’ and ‘Y’). Although uncommon, meningococcal disease can become life-threatening very quickly. Those aged 15-19 are the most frequent carriers.

 Getting the vaccine at school – To receive the vaccine at secondary school 15, 16 and 17 year olds need consent from a parent or guardian. Parents/guardians must complete and return the consent card that eligible young people bring home from school. Eighteen and 19 year olds can provide their own consent.

 Getting the vaccine outside of school – Eligible young people can also get the free vaccine from their GP or from their local council. The vaccine is free, however some GPs may charge a consultation fee. Some local councils hold free vaccination sessions that eligible young people can attend.

If vaccinated, the young person can protect themselves and others around them. With the program ending on 31 December 2017, we strongly encourage eligible club members to take advantage of the free vaccination while it is available.

To find out about free immunisation sessions, contact your local council.

For more about the vaccine and the disease visit www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/menvax