Year 10 students

happy year 10 students

Year 10 students are offered a free meningococcal ACWY vaccine, which protects against four different strains of the meningococcal bacteria. One dose of the meningococcal ACWY vaccine is all that’s required!

Keep an eye out for the consent card which gets sent out at the beginning of Term 1. Find, sign and return it to the school.

If you can’t find the consent card, ask your school for another one or download the Year 10 consent card. If you are printing the consent card, please print it on both sides (one piece of paper) and provide this to your school, rather than scanning it. Please read the information on the consent card carefully before you sign. Please complete and return a consent card even if you do not consent for your teen to receive these vaccines at school.

Questions: Year 10 vaccinations

What is meningococcal disease?

Meningococcal disease is a rare, but serious and sometimes life-threatening, infection. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck or sore muscles, sometimes followed by a red or purple rash. The disease can progress very quickly and can lead to death or permanent disability (e.g. loss of limbs, skin scarring, organ failure and learning difficulties).

While meningococcal disease can affect people of any age teenagers and young adults between 15 and 24 years old have a higher risk of being infected.

For more information, visit the Department of Health website and Resources on Meningococcal.

Why should my teen get vaccinated?

Vaccines saves lives. Vaccines prevent serious illness, disability and death. Getting vaccinated will keep you, your family and our community healthy by reducing the spread of preventable diseases. Even healthy teenagers can get meningococcal disease. The simplest, safest and most effective way to prevent some diseases is to get vaccinated. Delaying the vaccination can leave your teenager unprotected and at risk of contracting meningococcal disease.

Why is the meningococcal ACWY vaccine given to Year 10 students?

The meningococcal ACWY vaccine is given to Year 10 students as teenagers (and young adults) are at increased risk of meningococcal disease. This is because they’re more likely to carry the bacteria in their nose and throat, and they are more likely to spread the bacteria to others. Social behaviours such as close physical contact, frequent kissing, living in residential colleges, and participating in other social activities that involve physical closeness will more likely spread the disease.

Does my teen need this vaccine if they’ve previously had the meningococcal C and/or meningococcal B vaccine?

Yes, your teen still needs the meningococcal ACWY vaccine, even if they have received the meningococcal C and/or meningococcal B vaccines previously. The meningococcal ACWY vaccine acts as a booster dose for the ‘C’ type while providing protection from the A, W and Y meningococcus bacteria as well. The meningococcal B vaccine does not provide protection against the A, C, W or Y meningococcus bacteria.

I forgot to return the consent card on time. Is it too late to get my child vaccinated at school?

Please contact the Child and Adolescent Immunisation Team on 02 5124 1585 and they will provide you with your options.

Are vaccines safe?

Research and testing is an essential part of developing safe and effective vaccines.

In Australia, vaccines must pass strict safety testing before the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will register them for use. Approval of vaccines can take up to 10 years. Before vaccines become available to the public, clinical trials test them on thousands of people. For more information on vaccine safety, refer to the Department of Health’s ‘How are vaccines shown to be safe?’ factsheet.

Are there any side effects to the meningococcal ACWY vaccine?

All medicines and vaccines can have side effects. Most of the time they are not serious.

For most people, the chance of having a serious side effect from a vaccine is much lower than the chance of serious harm if you caught the disease.
If you have concerns about the possible side effects of meningococcal vaccines, or if your teenager has a reaction that worries you after having the meningococcal vaccine call the Immunisation Information Line on 02 5124 9800.

Common side effects of meningococcal vaccines include:

  • pain, redness and swelling where the needle went in
  • fever
  • feeling unsettled or tired
  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • nausea
  • decreased appetite
  • headache.

Serious reactions like allergic reactions are extremely rare. If your child reacts in an unexpected way, seek medical advice straight away. 

More information on the possible side effects of these vaccines is available in the Department of Health Australian Immunisation Handbook.

Do you have some tips on how to prepare a nervous or anxious teen?

There are a few things you can do to help reduce your teen’s fear and anxiety:

  • discuss with them what the vaccines are for and how it protects them
  • tell them when they’ll get vaccinated so they can prepare themselves
  • practice positive self-talk- "I can do this"
  • call the Child and Adolescent Immunisation Team on 02 5124 1585 prior to the vaccination day to discuss your concerns with a nurse
  • tell them to visit the nurses and have it done first – the less they wait, the better
  • if they’re still very anxious, you can come into the school and be with them while they have their immunisation. For the privacy of the other students, parents and carers are not able to be with them in the recovery area

On the day of immunisations, make sure your child eats breakfast and drinks plenty of water. Ensure they wear loose fitting clothing, especially around the arms and shoulders to make it easier for the nurses to vaccinate them.

For information about the date your teen will be vaccinated, contact your school. For more tips, visit our resources page.

Where can I access my teen’s vaccination history?

From 2018, your teen’s vaccination history is available through a MyGov account.

Before 2018:

  • If they were vaccinated at school between 2007 to 2017, their record is in the process of being uploaded to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR), which can be accessed through your MyGov account. Please be patient as this may take some time. If you require the record urgently, please call the High School Immunisation Program on 5124 1585 for assistance.
  • If they were vaccinated at school between 2003 to 2006, their records are available but are not currently reflected on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Please call the High School Immunisation Program on 5124 1585 for assistance.
  • If they were vaccinated at school before 2003, we no longer have these records due to the 2003 Canberra bushfires. If you retained a physical record of the immunisation, you are able to ask your family doctor or other immunisation provider to add this to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
What if my teen missed their dose at school?

If your teen has missed a vaccine dose, the Child and Adolescent Immunisation Team will send you a letter via My Digital Health Record or by post after they have visited your child's school. Letters will not be sent to those who have not returned a consent card, so it is important to sign it as soon as you receive it. The free vaccine is available from your family doctor (a consultation fee may apply).

My teen is home-schooled. Are they eligible?

Teenagers who are home-schooled can access the free vaccine through their family doctor (a consultation fee may apply).

Can my Year 10 student consent to vaccination?

Yes. The law recognises that as young people become older and more mature, they are more capable of making their own decisions about a wide range of issues including decisions about their health and wellbeing. The law recognises that a young person may reach this stage before they are 18 years old. These young people are referred to as 'mature minors'.

There is no specific age when a young person may be deemed a mature minor. Determining whether a young person is a mature minor requires consideration of whether they have sufficient maturity to understand the nature and effect of a decision to be vaccinated. Relevant factors include:

  • age
  • level of maturity for their age
  • understanding of the issues and consequences
  • living arrangements (independence).

The School Health Team will always encourage a Year 10 student to seek the consent of their parent/legal guardian in the first instance.

If there is no consent and a Year 10 student young person asks to be vaccinated with the meningococcal ACWY vaccine, they can be assessed by a Registered Nurse and if they are determined to be a mature minor, can receive the vaccine. Their details will be updated on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). In this instance a Year 10 student is encouraged to discuss their decision with their parent/legal guardian. Please complete and return a consent card even if you do not consent for your teen to receive these vaccines at school.

What if I have returned a consent card and signed ‘yes’ but I no longer want my child to receive these vaccines at school?

You can withdraw consent at any time. Please call the Child and Adolescent Immunisation Team on 02 5124 1585 to speak to a Registered Nurse to withdraw your consent to the school program.

Can I have other vaccines when I have had a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines can be given on the same day or within days of each other. Routine vaccines can be given to anyone who has recently being vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine and vice-versa if they are well on the day of vaccination and have no contraindications to the vaccines.

More information can be found at: Clinical recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines | Australian Government Department of Health considerations for special populations: Timing of administration of other vaccines.

Page last updated on: 7 Feb 2023