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First Tairawhiti Children Complete Immunisation

Media Statement

17 May 2005

First of Tairawhiti Children Complete their MeNZB Immunisation

Four-year-old Claudia-Rose Johns is one of the first children in this district to receive all three doses of the Meningococcal B vaccine.

Like most children she was unfazed by the injection and eagerly rolled up her pink sleeve so City Medical Practice Nurse Karen Staples could administer her third and final vaccination.

“I’m here for my injection,” said Claudia-Rose, who was happy to watch the needle going in.

Claudia-Rose’s mother Louise Johns said having her two daughters immunised has been a simple process thanks to City Medical.

After reading a pamphlet her doctor gave her outlining the risks of Meningococcal B disease she decided, “I’m running more of a risk not to do it, so I made the appointment for the first injection.”

When she made that initial telephone appointment, City Medical booked her daughters in for their next two injections. The family then received a fun fridge magnet to help remind them of the dates for the second and third vaccinations.

Ms Johns said the only after affects for her daughters were that each had a slightly sore arm for the rest of the day. She believes this is a small price to pay for preventing the disease.

“What I do know about the disease is that you can lose limbs.”

Karen Staples who vaccinated Claudia-Rose knows more than most how life-threatening Meningococcal B disease can be. Three years ago her own daughter was admitted to Gisborne Hospital with the disease. Her life was in danger for seven days and it took 18 months before she was 100%, says Ms Staples.

Meningococcal B Vaccine Strategy Project Manager Jan Ewart reminded the public that it is not possible to get Meningococcal disease from the vaccine. The vaccine contains no live or complete bacteria.

With any vaccine there is a small proportion of the population who, for a variety of reasons, do not develop full immunity.

"A small number of vaccine break-throughs are expected as the number of people being fully vaccinated increase. But the fact remains that vaccination is the best protection against this fearsome disease."

To be fully immunised a person needs to have three doses of the MeNZB vaccine and then it can take up to 28 days after the third dose for immunity to fully develop.

In Tairawhiti 12,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered since February 14.

Children at a variety of primary schools including Cobham, Kaiti, Awapuni, Te Karaka, Tikitiki and Te Wharau, will this week receive the second of their three vaccinations.

ENDS

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