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MOH: Different Disease Group, Different Vaccine

Different Disease Group, Different Vaccine
26 April 2005

Attribute to Dr Jane O'Hallahan, Meningococcal B immunisation programme director
In response to… Meningococcal Vaccination Risk In Under 5 Yr- Olds - Ron Law & Barbara Sumner Burstyn

New Zealand has a vaccine to combat an epidemic caused by a B strain of meningococcal disease. The MeNZB vaccine is a different type of vaccine to that which is discussed in the Canadian report.

It is a different vaccine used to control a different group of the disease.

New Zealanders can have faith in the MeNZB vaccine. In clinical trials, it stimulated immune responses regarded as being effective in preventing disease. The need for the vaccine has been established over the 14 years of our current epidemic, and the Independent Safety Monitoring Board says it has no concerns about the vaccine's safety after more than 525,000 doses had been administered. (For more information about the ISMB see

Interpreting research is often fraught for those who lack skills or understanding in the specialist area under scrutiny, and people should be wary of interpretations from the unqualified. Whether intentionaly or not, using this unrelated data to try and raise doubts about New Zealand's vaccine seriously lacks credibility.

So far this year, up until the week ending 15 April, there had been 65 cases of meningococcal disease and four deaths. 76 percent of all laboratory confirmed cases are for the epidemic strain of the disease which the MeNZB vaccine targets.


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