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Minister urges Maori to immunise

16 November 2005

Minister urges Maori to immunise

Associate Health Minister Mita Ririnui is urging Maori parents and caregivers to vaccinate their children and young people as the Meningococcal B immunisation Programme announces reaching one million people this week.

"We must make sure our children and young people get this protection in order to fight this disease which maims and kills our tamariki.

"The immunisation programme doesn't cost at all, the vaccine and the visit to get it are all free. It can save lives, or save our children from a lifetime sentence of living with amputated limbs or disfigured bodies.

"As the school-based campaign comes to an end, it is good to see the Maori and non-Maori vaccination rates for the 5 to 17 year old age group are comparable. Maori parents have wanted their children protected and have lined their children up for the vaccine at school.

"Currently the immunisation rates for children and young people outside the school campaign are lower for Maori than for non-Maori. We need to make sure the vulnerable under five year olds and 18 to 19 year olds, who might think they are bullet-proof, all get this vaccine as soon as they can. The disease can strike at any time so no one should be waiting any longer. The vaccine is showing itself to be safe and protective.

"This is a time for action and I urge parents and caregivers to take out a half an hour of insurance for the sake of all our children," said Mita Ririnui.

ENDS

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