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MeNZB vaccine now available to all Under 20s

Media release

12 July 2005

MeNZB vaccine now available to all Under 20s

All of New Zealand's 1.15 million children and young people aged under 20 can now access the MeNZB vaccine.

The final stage of the 12 month national rollout to has been completed. Nelson-Marlborough, the last region to start the staggered Meningococcal B Immunisation Programme, has begun its vaccinations.

To date, more than 1.5 million doses have been given in New Zealand, with more than 756,000 children and young people having received dose one. During the school term, more than 20,000 children and young people are being vaccinated each week day.

Meningococcal Immunisation Programme Director, Dr Jane O'Hallahan says: "This is an enormous achievement that can only be done with tremendous support from everyone involved; from the doctors and nurses actually immunising, to the schools, parents, young people and children involved.

"The big push now is to ensure everyone who starts the programme completes all three doses. It would be a concern if anyone who started the programme did not receive all three doses."

In the Counties Manukau DHB, which was the first to start the programme, more than 80 percent of pre-schoolers aged one to four years have completed all three doses, and more than 86 percent of school age children have completed all three doses."

"That is a testament to the hard work of the Counties-Manukau MeNZB team."

So far this year, there have been 125 cases of meningococcal disease with eight deaths. Four out of every five cases of meningococcal disease in New Zealand have been in our under 20 year olds, and half in the most at risk under 5 years age group.

Immunisation provides the best available protection against New Zealand's epidemic strain of meningococcal disease. However no vaccine is 100 per cent effective, and everyone should remain vigilant for signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease.

ENDS

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