Year 10 students are offered a free meningococcal ACWY vaccine, which protects against four different strains of the meningococcal bacteria. One dose of the Meningococcal ACWY vaccine is all that’s required!
Keep an eye out for the consent card which gets sent out in the first week of Term 1. Find, sign and return it to the school—even if you don’t want your teenager to be immunised.
Meningococcal disease is a rare, but serious and sometimes life-threatening, infection. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck or sore muscles, sometimes followed by a red or purple rash. The disease can progress very quickly and can lead to death or permanent disability (e.g. loss of limbs, skin scarring, organ failure and learning difficulties).
While meningococcal disease can affect people of any age teenagers and young adults between 15 and 24 years old have a higher risk of being infected.
Vaccines saves lives. Vaccines prevent serious illness, disability and death. Getting vaccinated will keep you, your family and our community healthy by reducing the spread of preventable diseases. Even healthy teenagers can get meningococcal disease. The simplest, safest and most effective way to prevent some diseases is to get vaccinated. Delaying the vaccination can leave your teenager unprotected and at risk of contracting meningococcal disease.
The meningococcal ACWY vaccine is given to Year 10 students as teenagers (and young adults) are at increased risk of meningococcal disease. This is because they’re more likely to carry the bacteria in their nose and throat, and they are more likely to spread the bacteria to others. Social behaviours such as close physical contact, frequent kissing, living in residential colleges, and participating in other social activities that involve physical closeness will more likely spread the disease.
Yes, your teen still needs the meningococcal ACWY vaccine, even if they have received the meningococcal C and/or meningococcal B vaccines previously. The meningococcal ACWY vaccine acts as a booster dose for the ‘C’ type while providing protection from the A, W and Y meningococcus bacteria as well. The meningococcal B vaccine does not provide protection against the A, C, W or Y meningococcus bacteria.
All medicines and vaccines can have side effects. Most of the time they are not serious.
For most people, the chance of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is much lower than the chance of serious harm if you caught the disease.
If you have concerns about the possible side effects of meningococcal vaccines, or if your teenager has a reaction that worries you after having the meningococcal vaccine call the Immunisation Information Line on 02 5124 9800.
Common side effects of meningococcal vaccines include:
pain, redness and swelling where the needle went in
fever (especially for meningococcal B vaccine)
feeling unsettled or tired
Serious reactions like allergic reactions are extremely rare. If your child reacts in an unexpected way, seek medical advice straight away.
There are a few things you can do to help reduce your teen’s fear and anxiety:
discuss with them what the vaccines are for and how it protects them
tell them when they’ll get vaccinated so they can prepare themselves
practice positive self-talk- "I can do this"
call the School Health Team on 02 5124 1585 prior to the vaccination day to discuss your concerns with a nurse
tell them to visit the nurses and have it done first – the less they wait, the better
if they’re still very anxious, you can come into the school and be with them while they have their immunisation. For the privacy of the other students, parents and carers are not able to be with them in the recovery area
On the day of immunisations, make sure your child eats breakfast and drinks plenty of water. Ensure they wear loose fitting clothing, especially around the arms and shoulders to make it easier for the nurses to vaccinate them.
For information about the date your teen will be vaccinated, contact your school. For more tips, visit our resources page.
From 2018, your teen’s vaccination history is available through a MyGov account.
If they were vaccinated at school between 2007 to 2017, their record is in the process of being uploaded to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR), which can be accessed through your MyGov account. Please be patient as this may take some time. If you require the record urgently, please call the School Immunisation Program on 5124 1585 for assistance.
If they were vaccinated at school between 2003 to 2006, their records are available but are not currently reflected on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Please call the School Immunisation Program on 5124 1585 for assistance.
If they were vaccinated at school before 2003, we no longer have these records due to the 2003 Canberra bushfires. If you retained a physical record of the immunisation, you are able to ask your GP to add this to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
If your teen has missed a vaccine dose, the School Health Team will send you a letter. Letters will not be sent to those who have not returned a consent card so it is important to sign it as soon as you receive it. The free vaccine is available from your GP (a consultation fee may apply).