Young people in Victoria aged 15 or 16 should take advantage of the free meningococcal vaccine as the springtime peak period for the disease comes nearer.

The Victorian Government’s free meningococcal vaccine program is available  until the end of the year to Victorian teens aged 15 or 16. It's available through school immunisation sessions, local councils or at the local GP.

The good news is that meningococcal cases in Victoria are on the decline, according to new data. The number of confirmed cases has dropped by 36 per cent, with 37 cases reported so far this year compared with 58 for the same period in 2017.

In 10 per cent of cases, meningococcal disease is fatal, with death occurring within 24 to 48 hours of diagnosis. About a fifth of those who survive the disease are left with permanent disability such as brain damage, or the loss of fingers, toes or limbs.

Young people aged 15 or 16 are most likely to be carriers and are therefore at greater risk of spreading it to others.

More information is available for health professionals on HealthVic.

Families can find out more information about the vaccine on the Better Health Channel

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