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Consent forms being distributed to schools

22 February 2005

Consent forms being distributed to schools

Thousands of meningococcal b (MeNZB™) consent forms are starting to be distributed to schools throughout Hawke’s Bay this week, in preparation for the school-based component of the immunisation programme, when all school-age children will be offered the vaccine at school.

Manager of the school-based programme, Joan Plowman, said no child would be vaccinated without their parents or caregivers consent. Young people aged 16 and over could complete their own consent form, but public health nurses were encouraging the parents/caregivers of these students to sign the consent following discussion with their child.

She said it was important for the form to be completed, signed and returned to school as soon as possible – even if they were not giving consent. This is to ensure that parents have seen the consent form and made an informed decision.

“We know there’s a lot to fill in, but it is vital that parents are well informed and the nurses doing the vaccinations have all the relevant details about the child they are immunising. The information is available in fourteen languages and the public health nurses will be ensuring that the appropriate information goes home.

The school-based immunisation programme kicks off on 4 April in Flaxmere, with children from 35 schools being vaccinated in the first two weeks. Schools have been prioritised according to need, with the lowest decile schools first in line to receive a visit from the meningococcal b vaccination teams.

For the vaccine to be effective each child needs to receive three doses, approximately six weeks apart. The campaign is expected to run from April until October.

A timetable showing when vaccination teams will be in schools can be accessed on the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board website: www.healthinhawkesbay.govt.nz, and clicking on the green MeNZB™ pen on the home page.

More information on the meningococcal b immunisation programme can be found on www.immunise.govt.nz or by phoning 0800 20 30 90.

ENDS

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