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Otago GPs plan for impact of MeNZB

Otago GPs plan for impact of MeNZB


Planning is well underway by Otago medical practices for the impact of the meningococcal vaccine programme, which begins at the end of May.

In Otago, it is aimed to immunise 48,610 young people age 0 – 19 years. This includes:

• 9,680 under 5 years

• 38,930 aged 5-19 years

Three doses of the vaccine are required, administered six weeks apart, for it to be effective.

Preschoolers, children not attending school and young people who have left school and are less than 20 years of age will be immunised by a doctor or nurse from their GP or health service (such as Student Health). School children will be immunised at school by qualified vaccinators.

Vaccination of those aged under 5, school leavers and young people aged up to 20 begins on 30 May 2005.

Otago-based Meningococcal programme sponsor Dr Roy Morris today said that the MeNZB programme would place medical practices under pressure. Administering of the flu vaccine in Otago begins next week and this will overlap to some extent with the beginning of the MeNZB vaccinations.

“This is an important national and local vaccination programme,” said Dr Morris. “I appreciate that it will put extra pressure on primary care providers and that some practices may need extra staff to run more clinics to meet New Zealand’s biggest public health initiative.”

Dr Morris said there were around 60 medical practices spread throughout Otago.

“GP practices are currently determining what extra nursing staff may be needed if they are going to hold extra evening and weekend clinics for the vaccination programme.

“They are supported in that planning by the MeNZB primary care campaign co-coordinator; by Southlink Health, and by their Public Health Organisation (PHO).

He said it would be helpful to know of any registered nurses in the community who may be able to fill any extra positions required by the GP practices. They can contact the MeNZB project manager Ros McCreadie on or calling 0800 23 32 44

Dr Morris said primary care providers will receive resource packs about the MeNZB campaign early next week. Each pack includes Programme Guidelines for Health Professionals, posters, information leaflets and booklets, educational flip charts, post vaccination information for patients, Well Child book stickers, reward stickers and a vaccine data sheet.

GPs who need extra quantities or translated material will be able to order them by e-mail or fax.

GPs are expected to order whatever extra quantities or translations they require to meet their own needs in order to start and continue vaccinating.

Planning for the school-based MeNZB programme is well underway with consent forms for parents of secondary school students sent out in late March; and primary school consent forms being sent out in the first week of Term 2.

Dr Morris said recent publicity calling for more full-time vaccinators for the school-based meningococcal vaccination campaign had resulted in a fantastic public response with most school-based vaccinator positions across the Otago region being filled.


The Meningococcal B vaccination programme is funded by the Ministry of Health and is currently available to anyone aged over six months and under 20 years of age.

New Zealand is experiencing an epidemic of Meningococcal B disease. The disease can cause serious and life-long disability, or death.

School students will be offered immunisation at school. Children not attending school, children under five years of age and other young people who have left school will be immunised by their doctor or practice nurse.

Vaccination with the MeNZB vaccine offers protection against the epidemic strain of meningococcal bacteria but not against other strains of meningococcal disease.

All three vaccinations are needed to protect an individual against the disease. The vaccine has undergone extensive clinical trials, and is safe.

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