Meningococcal ACWY vaccine for teens

Meningococcal disease is serious, but you can be protected. Young people aged 14-16 years can get the free meningococcal ACWY vaccine at school in year 10.

What is meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal disease occurs when meningococcal bacteria, commonly found in the nose or throat, invades the body and causes serious disease.  Although the majority of people will recover if the infection is diagnosed early, the disease can cause complications that may result in permanent disabilities through loss of limbs, deafness, blindness, scarring, kidney or liver failure and sometimes, it can even cause death.

Older teenagers and young adults are most likely to carry the bacteria and spread it to others.

Learn more about meningococcal disease

Meningococcal disease changed Seb’s life forever – but it doesn’t have to change your child's

Seb was 22 when he was struck down by meningococcal disease. He lost his right leg, left foot, and eight fingers. Seb contracted meningococcal W, a strain of the disease students in year 10 can now be vaccinated against.

Seb sitting on a chair speaking to the camera
1:45
Read transcript

It happened two years ago now, it was just like any other day.

I went for my morning run but then around lunch time I started feeling really ill.

As the day went on, bruises started appearing on my back.

I had trouble standing up, so I was rushed to hospital.

It turned out to be meningococcal disease.

I was in a coma on life support for ten days. I spent another 186 days in hospital after that.

I lost my right leg, left foot, and I’ve only got two functioning fingers.

I also had complete organ failure with my kidneys.

I contracted meningococcal W, a strain of the disease I didn’t know I could be vaccinated against.

It’s been tough for mum and dad too. They obviously feel strongly about young people being vaccinated after seeing what I went through.

And it’s the only way to protect your kids.

I still have my moments, but I’m trying to get my life back on track.

I’m living on the coast, going through rehab, and I’m slowly getting back into being a barber.

To parents I would say, don’t think it can’t happen to your kids.

To help protect your child, sign and return the consent form so they can receive their free meningococcal ACWY vaccine. It could save their life.

Getting the meningococcal ACWY vaccine

The meningococcal ACWY vaccine is free for all students in year 10 aged 14–16 years through school-based immunisation programs. Students will receive a consent form from their school which must be signed by a parent or guardian and returned to school before a vaccination is provided.

Find out more about the meningococcal ACWY vaccine

Is the vaccine safe?

The meningococcal ACWY vaccine is a safe and effective way to help protect young people from meningococcal disease. Meningococcal ACWY vaccination programs have been in place for adolescents in the UK since 2015 and in the US since 2005.

A single dose of meningococcal ACWY vaccine is very effective in providing protection against four types of meningococcal disease, A, C, W & Y.

Find out more about vaccine safety in Australia 

Catch-up

Adolescents aged 15 to 19 years of age, who have not received the vaccine at school, can receive it through their GP or other immunisation provider.

Find out how to catch up

The meningococcal ACWY vaccine - information for students

Meningococcal disease is rare, but very serious, and you can protect yourself from it. The Meningococcal ACWY vaccine is provided free in schools for young people in year 10. 

90 second animation – Meningococcal ACWY vaccine
1:30
Read transcript

Meningococcal disease is rare, but very serious,

and you can protect yourself from it.

The Meningococcal ACWY vaccine helps protect against disease caused by four common types of meningococcal bacteria – A, C, W and Y.

Meningococcal disease occurs when meningococcal bacteria commonly found in the nose,

Or throat,

Invades the body and causes serious disease.

It’s more common for older teenagers,

and young adults to carry the bacteria,

and spread it to others.

Although the majority of people will recover if the infection is diagnosed early,

the disease can cause complications,

that may result in permanent disabilities,

through limb loss, deafness, blindness, scarring, kidney or liver failure, and sometimes,

it can even cause death.

The vaccine is provided free in schools for young people in year 10.

And if you did not receive the vaccine at school,

there’s no need to worry,

speak to your GP or school based immunisation provider about how you can catch up.

The vaccine is free up to 19 years of age.

In Australia, all vaccines,

must meet very high safety standards.

Like with all vaccines,

a small number of people can have a reaction.

These are usually mild though,

and can include soreness, and swelling or redness at the injection site

If you have any concerns, seek medical advice.

Meningococcal disease is serious,

but the good news is you can be protected.

To get your vaccine, all you need to do is return your consent form to your school,

after it’s been signed by your parent or guardian.

Meningococcal disease is rare but very serious.

Protect yourself. Get the ACWY vaccine.

To find out more, visit www.health.gov.au/immunisation