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National Meningococcal C vaccination program off to good start in SA.

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Andrew Southcott MP

Federal Member for Boothby


22 April 2003

Most of South Australia’s local councils have initiated the Commonwealth Government’s National Meningococcal C vaccination initiative, Federal Member for Boothby Andrew Southcott said today.

Dr Southcott said the Commonwealth is investing more than $18 million to protect South Australian children over the next four years, including more than $17 million in meningococcal C vaccine and another $1 million to deliver school based immunisation clinics.

“I am delighted with the South Australia’s progress to date with a mail out of information to general practitioners and other immunisation providers completed and more than 50,000 doses of meningococcal C vaccine already distributed,” Dr Southcott said.

“All senior high school students aged 15 to 19 years will be vaccinated through school clinics by the end of this year.”

The program commenced in January with children turning 12 months to five years of age in 2003 eligible for a free vaccine from general practitioners or other immunisation providers. 15 to 19-year-olds at school are also eligible to receive vaccinations through school-based programs initially.

“It is reassuring to know that around 420,000 South Australian children and adolescents will be protected against meningococcal C disease at the completion of the four year program,” Dr Southcott said.

The Commonwealth Government has expanded the National Meningococcal C Vaccination Program to provide access to free meningococcal C vaccine to almost 6 million young Australians over the next four years.

“The $291 million expanded program amounts to more than a doubling of the entire Federal Government immunisation expenditure in previous years.”

Dr Southcott said that in 1995, Australian childhood immunisation rates were as low as 53 per cent. In response, the Howard Government launched the Immunise Australia Program - The Seven Point Plan in 1997. All States and Territories now average above 90 per cent coverage for infant immunisation.

Authorised by Andrew Southcott MP, 760 Marion Road, Marion SA 5043