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PHA applauds MenW campaign

PHA applauds MenW campaign

Public Health Association media release
20 December 2018

The Public Health Association of New Zealand (PHANZ) applauds the great progress being made in the fight against Meningococcal W currently underway in Northland.

In just 17 days over 11,000 children and young people in Northland will have been vaccinated against the W strain of the bacterium that causes meningococcal disease (Men W).

PHA acting general manager Keriata Stuart says what’s been achieved in Northland in such a short period of time is remarkable.

“The way in which Northland DHB, the Ministry of Health and communities have risen to this challenge shows the power of collective action in tackling public health issues.”

“MenW is a potentially deadly disease. Tragically, here have been six deaths from this strain of meningitis so far this year and three of these have been in Northland,” says Stuart.

“The MenW vaccination programme is helping build the population's immunity and save lives. If you’re a parent in Northland who hasn’t yet had your eligible child immunised, we strongly encourage you to do so. This small action can help protect a whole community.”

The vaccination is being provided to children aged from 9 months to under 5 years and those aged 13 to under 20 years who are Northland residents.

“These age groups are known to be the most susceptible to catching and transmitting meningococcal disease. The more of our tamariki to be vaccinated, the safer the whole community will be.”

Keriata Stuart wants to see more New Zealanders benefiting from the free meningococcal vaccine.

“We know that young people living in close proximity, for instance at a boarding school or a hall of residence, are at greater risk of getting meningitis, and we ask the Government to consider extending the free vaccine to these groups right across New Zealand.”

The Northland MenW vaccination programme started on 5 December and runs until 21 December.

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