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School Vaccination Begins Monday

Media Statement

Friday 1 April 2005

School Vaccination Begins Monday - Consent Forms Crucial

Children from Elgin and Cobham and Tikitiki Schools, and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Uri A Maui, will be the district’s first school-age youngsters to receive the Meningococcal B vaccination.

From Monday over 9500 school-age children will be vaccinated in the biggest school-based vaccination programme ever attempted.

Vaccinating all the district’s school children is a huge task with 16 Public Health and Rural Health Nurses supported by other staff visiting schools in Tairawhiti for the next five months, says Meningococcal B Vaccine Project Coordinator Jan Ewart.

“Children at Elgin School will receive their first in the series of three vaccinations from 9am in the school library.

Ms Ewart said vaccinating teams included vaccination nurses, school public health nurses, and nurses or people with current first aid certificates who stay with children in the 20 minutes post vaccination.

“Once children have been vaccinated they will be kept entertained with a video. Nurses or appropriate trained staff are with them during this time. The side effects children may expect are a temporary sore arm, feeling unwell, or a slight fever. These are minor effects compared to the risk of death and permanent disability from meningococcal disease.”

“Parents and caregivers can be reassured that safety is paramount during the entire vaccination process,” Ms Ewart said.

Elgin School Principal Ray Brown was pleased with the school community response to the vaccinations.

“It is really great how the parents of our children have responded to the Meningococcal B school immunisation campaign. In this school, we have had a 100% return rate of the consent forms which was most gratifying.”

On Monday, the vaccination team at Elgin School will also visit Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Nga Uri A Maui. They will be at Cobham School in the afternoon.

Ngati Porou Hauora Primary Health Organisation rural health nurses will be vaccinating at Tikitiki School on Tuesday.

Ms Ewart reminded parents that school-age children can be vaccinated only if they have returned consent forms distributed by the schools earlier this month.

“Anyone who hasn’t returned their form can contact the Public Health Unit, school or kura their child attends and request another one. It isn’t too late to get these forms back.”

Ms Ewart said if a parent or caregiver chooses not to have their child vaccinated, the consent form still has to be marked accordingly, and returned.

Around 2380 doses of the Meningococcal B Disease vaccine have been administered since it became available in Tairawhiti on February 14. Most of these have been to children aged under five.

Many under five year olds are now eligible for their second vaccination in the series of three vaccinations.

Everyone aged six months to 19-year-old is eligible for the free vaccination.

“Remember immunisation with the Meningococcal B vaccine involves receiving three doses of the vaccine, six weeks apart. It can then take a further four weeks for the body to develop protection against the epidemic strain of group B Meningococcal disease.”

Ms Ewart said under-five-year-olds who had not received the first vaccination could still do so.

“It’s not too late to begin the process and have your child vaccinated for free.”

Tairawhiti is known to be a high risk area for Meningococcal B. Between 1999 and 2004, 41 Tairawhiti people contracted the disease. Two people have died during that time.

Ms Ewart said it was important to remember that while the Meningococcal immunisation should end the group B Meningococcal disease epidemic, a small number of cases caused by other strains of the illness will still occur.

“So you still need to be on the lookout for symptoms and need to seek urgent medical treatment if they are present.”


School Schedule for First Dose of Meningococcal B Vaccination

Date Schools
4 April Cobham, Elgin, Kura
5 Kaiti, Waikirikiri, Tikitiki
6 Awapuni, Riverdale
7 Te Karaka, Whatatutu
7 Te Wharau
8 Absentees from above schools
11 Muriwai, Manutuke, Patutahi, St Mary’s
12 Mangapapa, Westmount
13 Te Harpara
14 Ilminster
15 Absentees from all of above schools
2 May Tiniroto, Waerengaokuri, Ngatapa, Rere, Central, Sonrise, Ruatorea schools
3 Matawai, Motu, Wainui, New Life Christian Academy, Activity Centre, Ruatorea schools
4 Makaraka, Ormond, Makauri, Waimata, Ruatorea schools
5 Lytton, Te Araroa schools
6 Te Araroa schools , absentees from above schools
9 Waipoa, Waikohu, Campion
10 Gisborne Intermediate
11 Gisborne Boys High
12 Gisborne Girls High
13 Absentees from all of above schools
23 Te Puia and Waipiro Bay schools
25 Tokomaru Bay schools
26 Tolaga Bay and Whangara schools
27 Tolaga Bay and Whangara schools


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