At the start of the study, South Australia had one of the highest rates of meningococcal B disease in Australia, with a high proportion of cases occurring in adolescents.
Meningococcal bacteria can be carried without causing harm in the nose and throat of around 10 per cent of the population, however this can increase to up to 25 per cent in adolescents and young adults.
Based on their higher disease risk, the meningococcal B vaccine is recommended for adolescents aged 15-19 years of age and also babies and young children, particularly those aged less than two years.
This study examined if the licensed and recommended meningococcal B vaccine reduced the spread of meningococcal bacteria in teenagers.
The study process, to assess the herd immunity impact of the MenB vaccine, required two groups (one vaccinated initially and one not) to compare the difference in carriage of the meningococcal bacteria between the two groups over time.
Vaccinations were rolled out across both 2017 and 2018 to work with the availability of immunisation nurses, and to fit in with the wider immunisation program at South Australian schools. This scheduling helped to ensure all students could receive two doses of the vaccine, to provide protection against meningococcal disease. The throat swabs from the students who were vaccinated in 2017 were compared with the throat swabs from the students who were vaccinated in 2018.
All immunised students were provided with a certificate of vaccination by their immunisation provider to confirm that they had received their dose/s.
In 2019, the meningococcal B vaccine records will be available on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Students can contact their immunisation provider or General Practitioner to check their vaccine record.
Yes, international students participated in the study. Students were able to participate if they were enrolled in a participating South Australian school, in years 10, 11 or 12 in 2017, for a minimum of a full school year. Students also had to obtain consent from their parents / legal guardian if they were less than 18 years old.
The high school study has now been completed in South Australia. High school students will not be able to receive another throat swab via the high school study (swabs were completed in July 2018).
Students who have missed vaccine doses can contact their immunisation provider to discuss how they may receive the vaccine. The study vaccine is available until the end of 2018, depending on provider clinic availability. Or, you can contact your General Practitioner to organise the vaccine privately.
Parent/Guardians of students who missed their immunisation provider vaccine school visit were sent a letter from their provider informing them that they missed their vaccine dose. The letter provided information regarding how/when/where students could access the missed doses.
If parents/guardians are not sure where their children should receive missed vaccine doses, they will need to contact their immunisation provider.
The student’s school will be able to inform you who your child’s immunisation provider was for the Men B study if you do not know.
The student may still be able to receive the two doses of study vaccine (available until 31st December 2018, depending on provider clinic availability). Students can contact their immunisation provider to find out more information regarding their vaccine status.
If you only received one dose of the study vaccine (Bexsero®) then you are not adequately protected against the invasive meningococcal B disease. Two doses are required for protection against meningococcal B disease in adolescents/adults.
You will need to contact your immunisation provider to receive the second dose (vaccines are available until December 2018). From February 2019, adolescents (up to 21 years of age) will be able to access free vaccine as part of the State Government’s Meningococcal B Immunisation Program.
To access the free vaccine in 2019, students will need to contact their immunisation provider or GP.
If you have moved interstate or overseas, we recommend that you purchase the Bexsero® vaccine privately, so that you have completed the two-dose vaccination schedule.
Following each vaccination each student is given a leaflet which documents the date and time they received the Bexsero® vaccine and information regarding possible vaccine side effects.
Vaccines are generally safe but like any medication or natural therapy they can have some side effects. These are usually short-lasting and do not require special treatment.
Common reactions to the Bexsero® vaccine include: pain, redness, hardness and swelling at the injection site, fever, generally feeling unwell, nausea, dizziness, headache, painful muscles and joints may also occur. If the reaction seems severe or persists and you are concerned, we recommend that you seek further advice from your doctor, immunisation nurse, or contact the Immunisation Section, SA Health on 1300 232 272.
Rare reactions: As with any medication, very rarely an individual may experience a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine. The nurses who deliver the immunisation program are trained to recognise and manage any immediate severe reactions. If a severe allergic reaction is going to occur it will generally be within the first 15 minutes after receiving a vaccine.
If you have any side effects from the vaccine we recommend that you seek further advice from your doctor, immunisation nurse, or contact the Immunisation Section on 1300 232 272.
Recruitment for the study is closed. Only participating students who did not complete their vaccination schedule are still able to access the vaccine for free.
However, there is an opportunity for individuals to continue to participate in the school leavers study in 2019 by having another throat swab taken at swab clinics at University Orientation ‘O’ week stands and at some immunisation provider locations. Please refer to our website under school leaver study tab for further information. No vaccines will be administered.
Missed vaccine doses can be received by contacting the school immunisation provider or the GP. From February 2019, adolescents (up to 21 years of age) will be able to access free vaccine as part of the State Government’s Meningococcal B Immunisation Program. To access the free vaccine in 2019, students will need to contact their immunisation provider/GP.
Students who did not participate in the high school study are not eligible to receive the two free doses of meningococcal B study vaccine. Students who wish to receive the vaccine will need to contact their General Practitioner.
From February 2019, adolescents (up to 21 years of age) will be able to access free vaccine as part of the State Government’s Meningococcal B Immunisation Program.
The list of immunisation provider clinics is on the B Part of It website. To access the list: go to the website front page, click on the tab labelled: “School Leaver Study” and then scroll down to the link, “Locations to receive throat swab”.
This study took place between April 01 – June 30th in 2017 and 2018.
The study was initiated and led by Professor Helen Marshall, Deputy Director, Robinson Research Institute, The University of Adelaide.
Helen Marshall partnered with SA Health, SA Pathology and other providers to implement the study which is funded by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
In 2019, there will be opportunities for individuals to take part in the study by having a throat swab taken. Throat swabs will be collected from February 2019 onwards as part of the School Leaver study. To be eligible for this study, individuals must have been enrolled as a Year 12 student in a South Australian School in 2018 and be between the ages of 17-25 years old.
Throat swab clinics will take place in February 2019 at university orientation week stands and other locations. Please refer to our website under the school leaver study tab for the list of locations available.
The high school study has been completed however another part of the study (the School Leaver Study) is continuing in 2019. The school leaver study involves the collection of throat swabs from individuals, aged 17- 25 years old. The swab information collected will be compared with the throat swab results collected from school leavers in 2018. This study does not include a free meningococcal B vaccine.
All students who participated in the study were offered two doses of the meningococcal B vaccine (Bexsero®). Two doses of vaccine are required for protection. Individuals who did not receive two doses of the vaccine may be able to access free vaccine from February 2019, as part of the State Government’s Meningococcal B Immunisation Program (see the following link for details: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/menbprogram). To access the free vaccine in 2019, individuals will need to contact their immunisation provider or GP.
34,489 high school students participated in the study and had a baseline swab collected.
The study was able to utilise the existing relations and protocols established by SA Health to implement the study throughout South Australia. In particular the study uses the resources of the SA Health school-based immunisation program to implement the roll out of the study.
All participating schools were randomised by a computer into two groups: Group A and Group B. All students, in both school groups, were offered the two free doses of meningococcal B vaccine between 2017 and 2018.
Students attending Group A schools received two meningococcal B vaccine doses and a throat swab between in 2017 and then received a second throat swab 12 months later in 2018.
Students attending group B schools received a throat swab only in 2017 and then received two meningococcal B vaccine doses and a second throat swab in 2018.
2017 Year 12 students who attended group B schools were still able to receive the two free doses of vaccine after they left school in 2018; students were contacted and informed regarding where they could attend clinics in 2018.