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Meningococcal Survivor’s Father To Speak

8 April 2005

Meningococcal Survivor’s Father To Speak At Public Meeting In Hawke’s Bay

The father of a baby girl who lost part of her limbs to meningococcal disease will be speaking at a public meeting next week about the current vaccination programme underway in Hawke’s Bay.

Perry Bisman, whose daughter Charlotte lost the lower parts of all four of her limbs to meningococcal B last winter, will speak at the meeting on Thursday 14 April at the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), hosted by the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board (HBDHB).

Mr Bisman is a strong supporter of the MeNZB™ vaccine, which offers protection against the epidemic strain of meningococcal disease in New Zealand. That strain is meningococcal B – the same strain that nearly killed his daughter.

Speakers at the meeting include meningococcal experts Dr Jane O’Hallahan, Director of the Meningococcal Vaccine Strategy from the Ministry of Health, and Dr David Barry, Hawke’s Bay Paediatrician and Chair of the Clinical Review Committee, established to advise the MeNZB™ Independent Safety Monitoring Board.

Topics covered at the meeting include why the vaccination programme is necessary during the current epidemic, and how the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine has been tested and proven.

Since the programme started just three weeks ago, more than 6,620 young Hawke’s Bay people aged from six months to nineteen years have received their first immunisation. There are around 45,000 young people in Hawke’s Bay eligible for the free immunisations.

For the vaccine to be effective each child needs to receive three doses, approximately six weeks apart.

The Meningococcal B vaccine is now available to half of all under 20 year olds in New Zealand and nearly 160,000 young New Zealanders have completed the three dose vaccination programme.

So far this year, there have been 53 cases of meningococcal disease and three deaths.

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

Meningococcal B public meeting K1 Lecture Theatre (next to Library), EIT, Gloucester Street, Taradale 7.30pm, Thursday 14 April 2005 All welcome, entry free

ENDS

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