Meningococcal ACWY (MenACWY) paediatric and adolescent vaccination programs

Urgent reminder to vaccinate 1-4 year olds with Men ACWY vaccine.

  • 12 (10 caused by Men W strain) confirmed meningococcal infections among children less than 5 years of age (up from 8 for this same period last year).
  • 9 of the 10 children with meningococcal W infection were greater than 1 year of age but had not yet received their free dose of MenACWY vaccine.
  • 9 of the 12 infections have occurred in Aboriginal children, 6 of whom were from metropolitan Perth.
  • This means that the rate of meningococcal infection among Aboriginal children aged less than five is currently 50 times the rate among non-Aboriginal children.

Immunisation providers are strongly urged to contact the parents of children 1-4 years of age in their practice who still have not been protected against meningococcal ACWY and ask them to bring their child in for their free vaccination. Given their elevated risk, it is especially important that we make every effort to immunise young Aboriginal children against invasive meningococcal ACWY disease.

For more information, see letter (PDF 207KB).

Meningococcal ACWY catch-up immunisation program

  • Meningococcal vaccine program is available in WA for children aged 12 months to <5 years ending 31 December 2018.
  • The WA MenACWY paediatric vaccination program supplements the routine immunisation schedule, i.e. other childhood vaccinations should be given at the immunisation schedule points as currently recommended.
  • There is a current shortage of privately funded Menveo vaccine. While there is a shortage, and if the vaccine cannot be obtained privately, the WA Department of Health can supply Menveo for children aged under 12 months to finish a vaccination course that has already been started.
  • Year 10 students will be vaccinated in schools during 2018.
  • 15 to 19 year olds can continue to access the vaccine until further notice.
What are the paediatric and adolescent vaccination programs?

The MenACWY vaccine will help protect against meningococcal disease serotypes A, C, W and Y.

The WA paediatric program will offer free MenACWY vaccine to children aged 12 months to less than 5 years.

Read the Meningococcal ACWY childhood vaccination program frequently asked questions (HealthyWA).

Year 10 students will receive their vaccination at school in 2018. Consent forms will be sent home prior to the vaccination day.

Adolescents aged between 15 and 19 can continue to access the vaccine until further notice.

Why use the MenACWY vaccine?

Meningococcal serogroup W was the type responsible for most of the recent cases in WA. The MenACWY vaccine protects for type W meningococcal disease and also for type Y, which is also increasing in the community. In addition, the vaccine protects against type C, already in the national childhood immunisation schedule, and type A, a type rare in Australia. This vaccine does not protect against type B meningococcal disease.

Which vaccines will be used?

Two brands of the MenACWY vaccine will be used.  Both vaccines, Nimenrix® (Pfizer Australia, Ltd.) and Menveo® (GSK Australia) protect against the four types of meningococcal bacteria A, C, W and Y and are similar in terms of safety and efficacy.

  • Nimenrix® can be given as a single dose to persons from age 12 months.*
  • Menveo® can be given as a single dose to persons aged from 2 years.*

Information regarding Nimenrix®

The manufacturer has recommended using a smaller sized needle for drawing up than the size recommended in the Handbook. The reason for this is that, in some instances, small particulates from the stopper can get pushed into the vial with the larger needle and then drawn up in the syringe. While the particulates are not harmful if injected, the smaller needle size will prevent that from happening. Please refer to the table below for more information.

Vaccine Brand Needle size for drawing up Needle size for administration (as per the Australian Immunisation Handbook)
Nimenrix 23G 23G or 25G, 25 mm
Menveo 21G 23G or 25G, 25 mm

*To ensure there are sufficient vaccine supplies for each age group, Nimenrix® should now be reserved for administration to children aged 12 months to less than 2 years and, when available, Menveo® should be used exclusively for children aged 2 years and older. This advice may change depending on supply.

Refer to Vaccination Guidance table for details.

Who should have the vaccine?

Children who turn 12 months of age will be able to receive the free vaccine at their 12 month visit.

Other children aged 13 months to <5 years should call ahead for an appointment so the provider can make sure they have the vaccine in stock and available.  This catch-up program is scheduled to end on 31 December 2018.

Year 10 students will be offered the free MenACWY vaccine at school during 2018. Consent forms will be sent home prior to vaccination day. Adolescents aged 15 to 19 not in year 10 or who missed their vaccination during 2017 can still get their free vaccine, until further notice, by contacting their immunisation provider.

Others who should consider having a meningococcal vaccine include:

  • People who plan to travel or live in parts of the world where meningococcal disease is common, such as parts of Africa, or people participating in mass international gatherings such as the Hajj in Mecca. Some countries require provide evidence of vaccination for entry visas.
  • Laboratory personnel who frequently handle Neisseria Meningitis
  • Household or sexual contacts of a case.
  • People who have medical conditions associated with an increased risk of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) such as:
    • defects in or deficiency of complement components, including factor H, factor D or properdin deficiency
    • current or future treatment with eculizumab (a monoclonal antibody directed against complement component C5)
    • functional or anatomical asplenia
    • HIV infection, regardless of stage of disease or CD4+ count
    • haematopoietic stem cell transplant

People considering immunisation should seek advice from their local doctor or a travel doctor.

Is the MenACWY vaccine safe and effective?

Studies have shown that the effectiveness of the meningococcal ACWY vaccine is between 80 to 85 per cent.

Studies have also shown that the vaccines used in the WA paediatric and adolescent Meningococcal ACWY vaccination programs are safe to use in children and adults. As with any vaccine, there may be some mild side effects. These include injection site pain, redness and swelling, myalgia, headache, nausea, loss of appetite and fever. Serious vaccine reactions are similar to those of other vaccines and are very rare.

How is the vaccine given?

The MenACWY vaccine should be administered intramuscularly in the deltoid or antero-lateral thigh depending on the age of the recipient.

Where to get vaccinated
  • Eligible individuals can get vaccinated at GPs throughout the State, Population Health Units (country) (Healthy WA) or community immunisation clinics (metropolitan).
    • To find your closest metropolitan immunisation clinic
      Phone: (08) 9321 1312
      Opening times: 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.
  • All age-eligible Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander persons can receive their vaccine at Aboriginal Medical Services (external site)
  • Year 10 students will receive their vaccination at secondary schools

Please contact your immunisation provider for details or to make an appointment.

Those not eligible for the state wide program may purchase the vaccine privately from their GP or Aboriginal Medical Service.

Administration advice
  1. Administration of Menitorix® (MenC-Hib vaccine) at 12 months should continue.  Menitorix® must be given before age 13 months to ensure parents remain eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A Supplement and Child Care Benefits.
  2. It is safe to co-administer MenACWY vaccines with other vaccines on the child immunisation schedule; specifically, Menitorix® can be co-administered with Nimenrix® at the routine 12 month immunisation schedule point.  Alternatively, Nimenrix® can be given as a stand-alone immunisation 4 or more weeks after the child was vaccinated with Menitorix® and/or other vaccines at 12 months of age.
Vaccine orders

All immunisation providers

To order Nimenrix® and/or Menveo® vaccine:  
  1. Go to the usual vaccine ordering website (external site)
  2. Click on the tab marked ‘Vaccines for state-funded programs’.  
  • Routine vaccine delivery schedule will apply to all MenACWY vaccine orders. 
  • Providers are encouraged to order only the number of doses they will use between scheduled vaccine deliveries.  
  • If necessary, the Department of Health may modify your order in an attempt to ensure supply is available to all providers.  
  • Keep in mind that the meningococcal ACWY vaccine is packaged in single doses so please ensure you have adequate refrigerator space.
Reporting

Vaccination reporting

All doses administered must be reported to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

Adverse event reporting

All immunisation providers have a statutory obligation to report all adverse events to the WA Vaccine Safety Surveillance System (WAVSS). Learn how to report.