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Meningococcal B Consent Forms Distributed

1 MAY 2005

*Primary school consent forms go to parents*

VERY HIGH RETURN OF CONSENT FORMS FROM HIGH SCHOOLS

On Monday 2 May, more than 15,000 Meningococcal B vaccination consent forms will begin to be distributed to students in Otago primary schools.

The consent forms will go to all 120 primary schools in the Otago region All students enrolled at Otago schools will be offered the chance to take part in the vaccination campaign. Only those returning their consent form signed by a parent or guardian will be vaccinated.

Group Manager Public Health South/ MeNZB™ School Based Campaign Co-Leader Peter Bassett is confident primary schools will show a good consent form return rate.

Teachers and staff in Area schools, High schools and Intermediate schools distributed consent forms to around 13,000 students approximately four weeks ago. This support from schools has been vital in raising awareness of the campaign and ensuring all students have the chance to be vaccinated. Most of those forms have been returned.

“The consent forms from high schools, intermediate schools and area schools are still being checked, but it’s already obvious we have had an excellent response rate to date. Most parents are consenting to participating in the school-based vaccination programme.

“If primary school returns are as good as those of intermediate and high schools, it looks like Otago will achieve at least the 90 per cent vaccination rate put up as a target by the Ministry of Health,” Mr Bassett said.

A total of 30,000 Otago school students will be eligible to take part in the school based campaign which starts on May 30. Students will receive three vaccinations approximately six weeks apart.

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

ENDS

*/Background/*

/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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