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Meningitis Trust supports MoH immunisation ad

Meningitis Trust supports Ministry's immunisation ad

Screaming headlines and mass hysteria created by a television documentary and a handful of misinformed campaigners has led the government to take out a full page ad in today’s press in support of immunisations, in particlular of the meningococcal B vaccination programme.

And we, at the Meningitis Trust, thank the Government, health professionals and the many health groups who have come together to allay community fears and support our meningitis campaign – a campaign that is indeed saving lives.

“Yes, immunisation against meningitis does save lives,” says Meningitis Trust general manager Fiona Colbert.

“We have seen thousands of new Zealanders maimed and hundreds of families bereaved since 1991 from meningococcal disease alone. Now we have a vaccine – MeNZB that is successfully saving lives.”

Here are some facts about vaccination in New Zealand.

Since the introduction of the Hib vaccine in 1992 there has been a dramatic drop in cases of Haemophilus Influenza type B (Hib). Prior to 1992 this was the most common life threatening bacterial infection –usually meningitis and approximately 1 in 350 NZ children developed a Hib infection. Thankfully cases are now rare.

Before the introduction of the MMR vaccine mumps was the most common cause of viral meningitis in children.

We congratulate the MOH for saving the lives of New Zealand children, however, we need to be vigilant – this is ongoing and if more babies are to be saved, the Government must ensure that the pneumococcal vaccine is a high priority, and is listed on the Immunisation Schedule for 2008.

Immunisation programs save lives around the world.

ends

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