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Nurses needed for meningococcal vaccinations

MEDIA RELEASE
25 November 2004

Nurses needed for meningococcal vaccinations

The search for registered nurses to help with the meningococcal B vaccination programme in the Hawke’s Bay district has started as the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board advances its strategy to combat the killer disease.

Coordinator for the school based vaccination programme, Joan Plowman, said there is a need for a large number (approximately 40) of additional nurses to vaccinate 30,000 children from 140 schools across the Hawke’s Bay region.

Vaccinations for school students will begin in April 2005 and have been scheduled over a seven month period.

Each child will be required to have three vaccinations to maximise immunity against this disease. These vaccinations will be given approximately six weeks apart.

Vaccinator training and full orientation will be given to nurses who may be working part-time or wish to return to the workforce.

Expressions of interest are being sought from practice nurses, public health nurses and other registered nurses who are after a worthwhile challenge. The nurses should have a current competency-based practising certificate and preferably a driver’s licence.

“There will be full or part-time work available for up to nine months from February next year and we are very hopeful that nurses will come forward and help us make this vital project work,” Joan said. “We’re keen to hear from people who can’t commit to permanent work, but would be able to work casually.”

To register an interest in being part of this programme nurses can contact Joan Plowman in writing at Hawke’s Bay District Health Board, Box 447, Napier or by email at joan.plowman@hawkesbaydhb.govt.nz

Joan said the DHB would be holding special training courses to up-skill nurses wanting to take part in this important programme.

New Zealand is currently in the grip of a meningococcal B epidemic that has killed 220 people since 1991 and has seriously affected thousands more. More than 5400 cases have been reported and the country has one of the highest rates of the disease in the developed world.

Vaccination is considered the most effective way to combat the epidemic and this is why a $200 million national vaccination programme targeting more than a million New Zealanders has been launched.

The campaign is the largest mass vaccination programme ever in New Zealand. It was started in Counties/Manukau last year and is being implemented progressively throughout the country.

END

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