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Next phase of meningococcal campaign begins

Next phase of meningococcal campaign begins

The second phase of the campaign begins this week as new evidence shows that the campaign has already led to massive reductions in the incidence of epidemic strain Meningococcal B.

"The Meningococcal B immunisation campaign has been one of the boldest steps in the Labour-led government's work for New Zealand families," Pete Hodgson said.

"We set out to end an epidemic by undertaking the largest mass-immunisation programme in New Zealand's history.

"With the mass-immunisation phase of the campaign coming to an end, there is a lot to be celebrated - we are seeing more and more evidence that we're beating this epidemic.

"But it's very important that every young New Zealander completes their courses - the next phases of the campaign will be the 'make it or break it' stage in our work. It's too early to become complacent.

"Those aged over 5 have until 31 December to complete their courses. I urge all families to follow through with their vaccinations as soon as possible."

Pete Hodgson previously announced that Budget 2006 would set aside $22 million to provide vaccinations for all newborns and under-5s until 2009.

The Minister has also released new evidence that the campaign has made significant inroads against the epidemic:•In Northern Region, our most at-risk region where the programme began, there has been 76 per cent drop in cases of epidemic strain meningococcal disease between 2003 and 2005 (ie. pre- and post-vaccinating)•Among Maori, the drop has been 90 per centFigures released in April showed that the campaign had already led to a 57 per cent reduction in cases overall.

ENDS

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