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Southland Children Get Meningococcal B Vaccine

First Southland Children Get Meningococcal B Immunisations

The first of an expected 18,500 Southland school children will get their initial meningococcal B immunisations today at James Hargest High School.

The Southland Meningococcal B Immunisation Programme officially begins today and the city’s largest high school will be the first stop for the vaccinating nurses.

Project Manager Judi Dennis said after such an intense lead-up to the start of the campaign, it is fantastic to have it finally underway and Southland children getting their opportunity to be protected.

“This is a very serious disease which can have devastating results and we want our young people to be as protected as possible,” Mrs Dennis said.

Each student will receive a course of three injections, each given approximately six weeks apart, with nurses visiting schools on a rotational basis. Children who are absent on the day nurses visit will have an opportunity to get their immunisations at special catch-up clinics.

Children, whose parents have consented, will receive their immunisations at school and will be monitored for a set period afterwards to ensure they are feeling well and happy to return to their classes.

“This is a safe vaccine and we are not expecting reactions apart from the usual redness and tenderness at the injection site. However, we are aware some children will be anxious about the injections and we will be supporting those children to address their anxieties,” Mrs Dennis said.

Each student will be given a post vaccination information sheet and parents should ensure their child gives this to them when they arrive home on the day of vaccination.

The sheet provides information on expected reactions and what to do if they have any concerns.

With the school campaign now underway, it is also time for parents of babies and preschoolers to make appointments with their general practices for their children’s first meningococcal B immunisation. Continued over page….. All babies from six weeks, along with preschoolers and young people under 20 who do not attend school are eligible for the free vaccine which is available from their general practice or the SIT nurse.

Anybody who needs further information or advice on where to access the vaccine should contact the Southland Meningococcal B Immunisation Programme team on 03 214 8260.

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