For the parents of children aged 5 to under 13 years, we sincerely understand your concerns about them not being able to receive the free meningococcal vaccine at this time.
We want to reassure you that what we are doing with the limited amount of vaccine doses available to us in Northland will help protect your children (aged 5 to13 years).
Vaccine stocks are limited, both nationally and internationally. New Zealand has purchased the 25,000 doses that are available immediately and Northland has been given these doses for the most vulnerable in our community.
Therefore we are vaccinating those most at risk from the disease and also those most likely to carry the disease and infect others.
These two groups are children aged from 9 months to under 5 years and those aged 13 to under 20 years who are Northland residents.
In other words, vaccinating these age groups will help protect all the people in Northland, also known as herd immunity.
We are targeting children under 5 because this is the population that is generally most affected by meningococcal disease. Vaccinating this age group will protect them from getting meningococcal disease. The vaccine cannot be given to babies under 9 months.
We’re targeting 13 to under 20 year olds because this is the age group that generally carries the bacterium that causes the disease. Even if they have no symptoms, carriers can infect those around them. Vaccinating this age group will lower the number of carriers in Northland and stop the spread of meningococcal disease across the entire community.
If you have any questions, please phone 0800 600 720 – 8am to 8pm –to speak to a local Public Health Nurse.
If you or a child have any of the symptoms of meningococcal disease - a fever, nausea, vomiting, headache, stiff neck, rash, sleepiness, irritability, gastroenteritis or pneumonia - it is important to seek medical help immediately by contacting your local accident and medical or ED department, your GP or Healthline 0800 611 116.