5 June 2022
A free meningococcal B vaccination program that started in the Northern Territory in 2021 has been extended until the end of this year.
The B Part of It NT program will mean seven thousand young Territorians between the ages of 14 and 19 are eligible for the meningococcal B vaccine, Bexsero, through a study being led by researchers from the University of Adelaide and NT Health.
There is growing evidence that the meningococcal B vaccine may also be effective in providing protection against gonorrhoea as well as meningococcal B, due to the genetic similarities between the bacteria that causes the two diseases.
To participate in B Part of It NT, Territorians need to receive two doses of the vaccine two months apart, as well as offer two throat swabs and complete two surveys.
The B Part of It NT study is a partnership between NT Health, the Commonwealth Government, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), SA Health and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation.
B Part of It NT follows the successful B Part of It study in South Australia, where almost 35,000 senior school students were vaccinated against meningococcal B during 2017 and 2018.
Meningococcal B vaccinations can be given at any time in relation to flu vaccinations, whereas there should be a week in between the Meningococcal B and COVID-19 vaccinations being taken for the study, with the COVID-19 vaccination being the priority.
To register to Be Part of It NT go to here
Quotes attributable to Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Natasha Fyles:
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the public have become more aware than ever of the importance of vaccination.
“The B Part of It NT program means participants can get vaccinated through their school program, or their local health clinic, by returning a consent form – but people aged over 16 can take part without parental consent when they join through community health service or urban clinic.
“The study results will help protect the community and keep Territorians safe, so all eligible young people are encouraged to get vaccinated and take part in the study.”
Quotes attributable to Director of the Northern Territory Centre for Disease Control, Dr Vicki Krause:
“Meningococcal B is a bacteria that can cause severe disease such as sepsis, also known as blood poisoning, and meningitis.
“The vaccine is a safe and recommended for all young people aged 14 to 19 years and I encourage all eligible Territorians to sign up and be a part of this important study.
“The rate of gonorrhoea in young people in the NT remains high with some increase since 2019. The study aims to measure how well the meningococcal B vaccine protects young Territorians against meningococcal B disease and potentially gonorrhoea, as has been seen in other countries.”
Northern Territory Government