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4000 vaccinations in first week of MeNZB Campaign

FRIDAY 3 JUNE 2005

More than 4000 vaccinations in first week of Otago Meningococcal B Campaign

350 VACCINATED TODAY AT JOHN MCGLASHAN DESPITE THE SNOW

The Otago Meningococcal B Immunisation Campaign has passed its first major milestone with more than 4000 doses of the vaccine given in the first week of the campaign. This includes 350 school students at John McGlashan School in Dunedin, which was affected by snow.

The Meningococcal B campaign began on Monday 30 May. It is aimed to vaccinate more than 50,000 babies, children and young people aged up to 20 years against Meningococcal B disease

As of Thursday, over 2500 school children had been vaccinated and entered into the data base. More than 1500 babies and children under five; and young people who have left school aged between 16 and 20 have been vaccinated through general practices throughout Otago.

Otago Meningococcal B campaign leader Dr Roy Morris said it was a very good start to the campaign and the school team had shown great commitment braving the extreme weather conditions to continue vaccinating today.

Teams of vaccinating nurses have visited the following schools in the first week: Caversham, Balmacewen, Corstorphine, Mornington, Sawyers Bay, Abbotsford, Andersons Bay, Balclutha and Hawea primary schools; and Queens, South Otago, Waitaki Boys, St Kevins, and Dunstan High Schools.

Vaccinators made it to Concord primary school today, but despite being closed by snow late morning, managed to vaccinate all but 20 of those pupils; and remained at John McGlashan to vaccinate most of the pupils.

Over the next few weeks, the nurses will visit all schools in the Otago region to give the first in the series of three MeNZB vaccinations.

Dr Morris said parents are advised to ensure that their children have breakfast every morning so they are prepared for when the vaccinations are taking place at their school.

Children who do not have breakfast risk having lower blood sugars, which can lead to light-headedness.

Every child vaccinated will receive a post vaccination leaflet providing information on possible reactions, which parents should look out for.

Dr Morris said that a number of children have complained of sore arms and some have experienced redness and swelling at the injection site.

'It is possible children may have a headache, nausea or slight fever and parents should follow the advice on the post vaccination leaflet,' he said.

'These reactions are generally mild and may last for a few days.'

Anybody with concerns should contact their doctor or phone the information number 0800 20 30 90

ENDS



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