School leavers are being urged to take note of a very important warning before heading off for their end of year celebrations.

School leavers are being urged to take advantage of the free meningococcal vaccine before heading off for their end of year celebrations to avoid contracting the rare yet life-threatening disease.

While schoolies is considered a rite of passage for many Australian teens, it also means increased exposure to the very serious and often deadly disease.

“The risk of contracting meningococcal can increase when older teenagers are in close proximity for a lengthy time, particularly in environments like schoolies,” warned Professor Robert Booy, medical adviser at Meningococcal Australia, reports 7 news.

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Prof Booy says being in crowded situations where close contact occurs, coughing or passionate kissing are all ways that meningococcal disease can spread.

However, the expert acknowledged that asking young people to abstain from close contact is unrealistic and is calling on teens to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.

In 2016, meningococcal W became the most common strain of meningococcal disease in Australia.

In response to the rise, six states including NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, Northern Territory and WA introduced free but time-limited vaccination programs in high schools.

Share your comments below.

  • Great reminder to get vaccinated.


  • Now this is a warning we should be able to get kids to heed.


  • So good that this vaccine is available.


  • All vaccines should be made available for free to everyone.

    • Yes I totally with vaccines being made free to everyone.


  • Though it sounds great in theory, however the majority of strains do not yet have a vaccine and, though there is a vaccine for one of our greatest killers in Meningococcal strains, the vaccine itself is not on the schedule and is quite expensive.

    The same applies to Hepatitis vaccinations too. Particularly when friends share drinks at schoolies.


  • A precaution I have not previously heard of for Schoolies.

    • A timely reminder as we have seen lots of Schoolies commencing end of school celebrations.


  • I haven’t heard about this yet, but have no older teenagers.


  • Here in WA it will be given for free at school in Year 10. At least, that’s what they told me at the medical centre when I went to ask about this vaccine.

    • I was told the same thing by my doctor and I live in WA too. We need to protect our young while we can, they leave so quick.

      • Yes! I actually heard that it was for free for kids 15-19 years old. My daughter had just turned 15 so I went to ask how to get the free vaccination and they told me it will be given next year in high school. Let’s hope nothing happens before then. I would have much preferred to give her the vaccination already now.


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