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Basic Knowledge Of Immunology & Statistics Needed

Natalie Desmond
National Immunisation Advisor
Immunisation Advisory Centre
University of Auckland

Press Release.
27 April 2005.

Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) Attributable to : Helen Petousis-Harris, Research Manager IMAC

Basic knowledge of immunology and statistics needed before interpretation of study warn University experts.

In response to : Meningococcal Vaccination risk in under 5 Yr olds – Ron Law & Barbara Sumner Burstyn

Law and Sumner Burstyn in their press release 26 April 2005 assume that a Canadian study of a polysaccharide meningococcal C vaccine used in 1989/90 is somehow relevant to New Zealand’s meningococcal B disease epidemic. The most significant point to note is that the polysaccharide vaccine in this Canadian study is completely different to the MeNZB™ vaccine being used in New Zealand. The claims being made by Law and Sumner Burstyn are both irrelevant and erroneous. It is well known that polysaccharide vaccines are not effective in young children, that is why they are not usually offered to this age group. MeNZB™ vaccine is not a polysaccharide vaccine. The Canadian the study DOES NOT say that vaccination against meningitis increases risk for the disease.

New Zealand MeNZB™ vaccine is an Outer Membrane Protein (OMP) vaccine which has demonstrated efficacy in young children. It is well known that the young immune system is unable to respond effectively against bacteria that involve a polysaccharide coating such as meningococcal bacteria. This is why young children are at particular risk from these bacteria. This is also why it is so important to protect them from a young age.


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