News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Mass vaccination clinics to halt spread of hep A

Media Release

September 26, 2013

Mass vaccination clinics to halt spread of hep A

In October the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) will be offering free hepatitis A vaccinations to all children aged between one and four years old in Ashburton, Methven and Rakaia.

The vaccination campaign follows an outbreak of hepatitis A in Ashburton, which began in April this year with 28 confirmed cases to date, ranging in age from 14 months to 53 years.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says control of the virus has proven difficult as preschoolers with hepatitis A often show no symptoms and can unknowingly pass the virus throughout the community.

“Hepatitis A is highly contagious and spreads rapidly. It is spread when people fail to wash their hands properly after going to the toilet, and because of this pre-schoolers are often responsible for spreading it,” Dr Humphrey says.
“We had hoped that holding vaccination clinics in preschools where there was a link with hepatitis A would be sufficient to control the spread. We’ve held three such clinics but unfortunately the virus has continued to spread slowly in and around Ashburton. Without a mass vaccination of one to four year olds it’s possible the current epidemic could last for several years.”

The following free vaccination clinics are planned:

Tuesday
8 October
9.15am -6.00pm
Ashburton Trust Event Centre
211 A Wills St
Ashburton
Wednesday
9 October
9.15 am -6.00pm
Ashburton Trust Event Centre
211 A Wills St
Ashburton
Tuesday
15 October
9.15am- 6.00pm
St Davids Union Church
48 Allens Rd
Ashburton
Wednesday
16 October
9.15am - 6.00pm
St Davids Union Church
48 Allens Rd
Ashburton
Wednesday
23 October
9.30am -12.30pm
Mt Hutt Memorial Hall
Methven
Wednesday
23 October
2.15pm -4.15pm
Rakaia Memorial Hall
Rakaia

Dr Humphrey says that the immunisation programme alone will not prevent the spread of hepatitis A.

“The most important thing that can be done to prevent the virus spreading is thorough hand washing. Adults need to wash their hands thoroughly after using the toilet and before preparing food, and children need to be shown proper hand washing technique.

“For the last few months I’ve been strongly recommending that food handlers are vaccinated against the virus, and I strongly urge food businesses that haven’t offered vaccination to their staff to do so. The cost of doing so is considerably cheaper than the costs a business would face if they were identified as spreading the virus.”

Dr Humphrey says the CDHB will be writing to all preschools to inform them about free vaccination clinics. To help minimize waiting times the letters will also recommend the best clinic for parents to attend.

It is recommended that parents of one to four year olds collect a consent form for each child from their preschool or General Practice team and complete this prior to attending the clinic. Children will need to remain at the clinic for 20 minutes after their vaccination for observation.

Primary Health Organisation enrolment data shows that there are 2,071 children aged up to four years old in Ashburton, Methven and Rakaia. Hepatitis A vaccinations have already been provided to 127 people in this age group.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Snow Business: Coronet Peak Turns 70

In 1947 Coronet Peak in Queenstown opened with just a rope tow pulling keen skiers up a mountain, the first commercial ski field to open in New Zealand. More>>

Howard Davis: 'Dunkirk'

The British have an extraordinary penchant for celebrating catastrophic military defeats. It is not only the Battle of Hastings, the Charge of the Light Brigade, and Gallipoli that have become immortalized in prose, poetry, and movies ...
More>>

Conservation: Gecko Stolen From DOC Visitor Centre

A long-term resident at the Fiordland National Park Visitor Centre has been stolen. The Marlborough green gecko was reported missing on 19 July. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Rare Ingredients

When I heard Kiazim was publishing a cookbook, I jumped at the opportunity... I was back in New Zealand, but how hard could it be to create Turkish-Cypriot cuisine on the opposite side of the world? Well, it turns out — pretty damn hard. More>>

Remembrance: British Memorial Design Revealed

After years of work with Weta Workshop, the British High Commission has revealed the final design of the United Kingdom’s presence in Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: The Whole Intimate Mess

Alison McCulloch: Walker’s account of what she went through is harrowing and intimate, and, at risk of sounding trite, very brave. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland