Celebrating 25 Years of Scoop
Special: Up To 25% Off Scoop Pro Learn More

News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Meningitis Foundation Calls For Funding Of Vaccines To Be Included In Pharmac Funding Boost

The Meningitis Foundation Aotearoa New Zealand says reports that the Government plans to inject an additional $600 million towards Pharmac-funded medicines “can’t come soon enough”.

It is reported that the Government is planning increase Pharmac funding by approximately 40%, which will be directed towards cancer drugs, while also allowing Pharmac to purchase medications and vaccines for other illnesses.

Meningitis Foundation chair, Gerard Rushton, says the Foundation welcomes the additional funding, which will bring Aotearoa New Zealand back in line with medicines funding for other OCED nations, which spend 1.4% of GDP on average on publicly financed pharmaceutical spending (New Zealand’s spend is 0.45%). He stresses that a portion of the funding must be directed towards vaccination against meningitis.

“We know Pharmac is seeking to fund wider immunisation against meningococcal meningitis, and the reported funding boost gives them the opportunity to do so.” There were 13 cases of meningococcal meningitis in the year to June, and each of those could have easily proven fatal,” says Gerard Rushton

Pharmac’s Immunisation Advisory Committee has also recommended with a medium priority that eligibility for meningococcal ACWY conjugate vaccine for people aged 13-25 years be widened to those who are eligible for Community Services Cards, as well as their dependants.  

With 718,209 Community Services Cards currently on issue and reissued, that could see up to 700,000 additional households become eligible for vaccination, including 200,000 Māori and 80,000 Pasifika households.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

Gerard Rushton says the organisation is calling on the Government to make access to both meningococcal vaccines, as well as the pneumococcal vaccine, free for all young people under the age of 25.

“We need to vaccinate across the board to best protect our rangatahi,” says Gerard. “The current approach is patchy at best, the eligibility criteria are confusing, and the current approach is ultimately ineffective.”

The symptoms of meningococcal meningitis in adults and children are:

  • A stiff, sore neck.
  • A sensitivity to light, or a dislike of bright lights (an early warning sign of meningitis).  
  • A severe headache.
  • If the child or adult is difficult to wake, or in a drowsy and confused state.
  • A fever, sometimes accompanied by cold hands and feet.
  • Aching sore joints.
  • Vomiting – a common symptom of meningitis in both children and adults.  
  • Convulsive fits or seizures is characteristic of meningitis

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.