Press Release – Northland DHB
The FREE 12 week Meningococcal C Vaccination Programme ended on Friday 16 December with a provisional estimate of 31,455 Northlanders aged 12months to under 20 years now vaccinated against this serious disease.Media Statement
22 December 2011
Meningococcal C Vaccination Programme – Thank you Northland
The FREE 12 week Meningococcal C Vaccination Programme ended on Friday 16 December with a provisional estimate of 31,455 Northlanders aged 12months to under 20 years now vaccinated against this serious disease.
The programme was launched in late September following a community outbreak of Meningococcal C disease, which included three deaths.
Led by Northland DHB, health care providers throughout the region worked together to increase access and give opportunities for all those eligible to get vaccinated. This included actively contacting those eligible, providing after hours and community clinics, health promotion, mobile clinics and a significant marketing campaign which included the endorsement of sports identity Sonny Bill Williams.
“Everyone pulled together to deliver this programme. Public health nurses, schools, GPs, Iwi providers, alternative education, Plunket, community groups and organisations have all been involved, from those in the clinical field and health promoters, through to administrators and support staff. A very heartfelt thank you to you all for your unwavering support” said Northland DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Clair Mills.
The vaccination data is still being analysed, with the final figures likely in mid-January 2012.
“There was certainly a spike in vaccinations on the last couple of days, and the final coverage data will be available next month. It is great that so many children and young people are now protected against Meningococcal C; it’s a really serious disease” Dr Mills added.
The Meningococcal C vaccine is no longer free of charge, and it is not cheap. The vaccine costs approximately $100, plus your doctor’s fee, which varies throughout the region.
The Northland DHB toll-free number is still available, 24 hours a day if anyone has questions about meningococcal disease or the costs and access to the vaccination. The free number is 0800 430123.
About the Programme
The immunisation programme was launched following a community outbreak of meningococcal C disease in the district. In consultation with the Ministry of Health, the District Health Board undertook the vaccination campaign to help control this outbreak and prevent more cases of disease.
Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacterium (germ) Neisseria meningitidis. It can cause meningitis (infection of the membrane around the brain) or septicaemia (blood poisoning). It is a serious disease and can cause death or permanent disability, such as deafness.
The meningococcal C vaccine used (Meningitec ®) has a very good safety record and has been widely used in Europe, UK and Australia since 1999. The vaccine does not contain live bacteria and it is not possible to get the disease from the vaccine. Only one dose is required to give protection in children over 12 months of age.
Meningococcal comes in different types such as B and C and the vaccine offered to Northlanders during this programme was for meningococcal C disease. The vaccine provides protection after about 10 days. It is 90-95 per cent effective.
This vaccine is different from the MeNZB vaccine given in 2004-5 to control the Type B epidemic. MeNZB only protected against Type B and does not protect against Type C.
For more information on meningococcal disease, see:
NORTHLAND DHB MENINGOCOCCAL SPECIFIC CASE INFORMATION
July Notification – Confirmed
10 Jul 2011 – 18 year old female – Meningococcal C
22 Jul 2011 – 18 year old male – Meningococcal C
August Notification- Confirmed
9 Aug 2011 – 1 year old male – Meningococcal C Death
11 Aug 2011 – 1 year old male – Meningococcal C
24 Aug 2011 – 45 year old female – Meningococcal B
25 Aug 2011 – 18 year old male – Meningococcal C Death
September Notification- Confirmed
04 Sept 2011 – 14 month old male – Meningococcal B
22 Sept 2011 – 15 year old male – Meningococcal C
22 Sept 2011 – 82 year old female – Meningococcal C Death
October Notification- Confirmed
07 Oct 2011 – 5 year old child – Meningococcal C
09 Oct 2011 – 2 year old girl – Meningococcal B
19 Oct 2011 – 12 year old girl – Meningococcal C
November Notification- Confirmed
15 Nov 2011 – 4 year old child – Meningococcal B
MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE BACKGROUND INFORMATION
(Ref IMAC http://www.immune.org.nz/?T=665)
What is meningococcal disease?
Meningococcal disease is a bacterial infection. It causes severe illnesses most commonly presenting as meningitis (an infection of membranes that cover the brain) and bacteraemia (blood infection), and less commonly pericarditis (inflammation of the lining of the sac that contains the heart) and arthritis (swelling of the joints).
The most common strains of bacteria which cause meningococcal disease in New Zealand are Type B and C.
What are the symptoms of Meningococcal disease?
In the early stages meningococcal disease may look like influenza. It can progress quickly and can be difficult to diagnose. It is important to remember that not everyone will develop all the symptoms listed and they may appear in a different order. If an individual develops some of the symptoms listed, especially red or purple spots, get medical help urgently. If you can’t get in touch with the doctor, or are still worried after getting advice, trust your instincts and go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital.
In babies, the main symptoms of meningitis may include:
a high-pitched, moaning cry
irritable when picked up
a bulging fontanelle
drowsy and less responsive – difficult to wake
floppy and listless, or stiff with jerky movements
refusing feeds, vomiting
skin that is pale, blotchy or turning blue
In babies, the main symptoms of bacteraemia may include:
rapid or unusual patterns of breathing
skin that is pale, blotchy or turning blue
fever with cold hands and feet
vomiting, refusing feeds
red or purple spots
pain or irritability from muscle aches or severe limb/joint pain
In older children, adolescents and adults, the main symptoms of meningitis may include:
a stiff neck (check that they can kiss their knees or touch their forehead with their knees)
a very bad headache
dislike of bright lights
feeling drowsy, less responsive and confused
In older children, adolescents and adults, the main symptoms of bacteraemia may include:
sleepiness, less responsive, vacant or confused
severe aches and pains in the arms, legs and joints
very cold hands and feet
red or purple spots
diarrhoea and stomach cramps.
For further information about meningococcal disease visit the Ministry of Health website http://www.moh.govt.nz/meningococcal.