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Meningococcal B Vaccine Arrives In Canterbury

9 June 2005

First Meningococcal B Vaccine Arrives In Canterbury

Thirteen thousand doses of the meningococcal B vaccine arrived in Canterbury this week. These vaccines will be used from Monday 13 June when the schools based campaign commences in Canterbury.

Meningococcal B schools based co-ordinator, Julia Anderson says, “Parents should contact their child’s school or local public health nurse to confirm the date the MeNZB™ vaccination will take place at their child’s school. Parents are most welcome to attend their child’s vaccination.”

All the consent forms have now been picked up from Canterbury's 260 schools. We have processed nearly half of the 78,933 consent forms into the school based vaccination database. To date we have a very high acceptance rate with most parents consenting to the vaccination in the school based campaign,” says Julia Anderson.

Commenting on the safety of the vaccine, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, Dr Mel Brieseman says, “The Independent Safety Monitoring Board, established by the Health Research Council, stated they had no safety concerns after analysing data relating to more than 700,000 MeNZB™ doses administered in New Zealand.”

The Board includes international experts in vaccines, paediatrics and epidemiology. Board spokesman, Professor Terry Nolan, head of population health at the University of Melbourne said, “Parents should feel reassured that the safety experience of this vaccine has so far been excellent. Surveillance has shown that there is absolutely no reason for any concern about the safety of the vaccine.”

Dr Brieseman said, “In spite of recent publicity concerning the extent of safety and efficacy trials these are not in question. Much of the concern is based on misinformation. From the scientific angle there is a clear evidence base supporting the MeNZB™ immunisation programme to control the current epidemic, and there is a wide-ranging safety-monitoring programme in place.”

From 20 June vaccinations for children under five and youth aged 19 and under not attending school, will be available free from doctors’ surgeries. It is important that all children and youth receive three vaccinations six weeks apart to ensure full vaccination against meningococcal B.

For further information people can visit www.immunise.moh.govt.nz or call 0800 20 30 90 or contact the Canterbury Public Health Nursing Service website www.cdhb.govt.nz/phns or phone 03 383 6877.

ENDS

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