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Support Agency Disappointed at Vaccine Delay


Christchurch Support Agency Disappointed at Vaccine Delay

Reports that the Meningococcal Vaccine will not be made available to Christchurch families until August 2005 has disappointed Christchurch's Family Help Trust.

However Clinical Services Manager, Bill Pringle, says his team, which works with at-risk children in high-risk families, understands that the vaccine has to go where the incidence of the disease is highest.

"Although I would consider the children in our families to be at risk from contracting Meningitis, the one factor that makes areas like South Auckland more desperate for the vaccine is the overcrowding in many households," he says.

The Trust is currently seeking sponsors for a first aid kit including a digital thermometer for each of their families.

"We have spoken with all of our parents and they have agreed that a first aid kit with thermometer would help improve the safety of their children. We just have to find the money now to fund this initiative," he says.

There was a case of meningitis in one of the Family Help Trust families a couple of years ago. The case-worker, who was also a registered nurse, acted quickly to avert a tragedy.

"All of our families have children under 5 years of age which is the high risk group. 90% of them rely on benefits; they are struggling, some of them just managing to keep their heads above water. If it was possible to purchase the vaccine and we had the money, the Trust would seriously consider doing so. The safety of our children is of paramount importance, after all that's the whole point of what we do.

Bill Pringle says they must look at the positives and the fact that a vaccine has been made available is great news for the at risk children across New Zealand.

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