Sonny Bill Williams supports Northland FREE MenC Vaccination

Press Release – Northland DHB

Rugby star, Sonny Bill Williams has volunteered his support to the Northland Meningococcal C Vaccination Programme as it enters its final week. Sonny Bill has recorded a personal video message to Northland youth to warn them of the seriousness of meningococcal …12 December 2011

Sonny Bill Williams supports Northland FREE MenC Vaccination Programme

Rugby star, Sonny Bill Williams has volunteered his support to the Northland Meningococcal C Vaccination Programme as it enters its final week.

Sonny Bill has recorded a personal video message to Northland youth to warn them of the seriousness of meningococcal disease. His message has been posted on the Meningococcal C Campaign page on Facebook and You Tube.

Sonny Bill says he’s been involved in a meningitis charity in Australia since he was 18 and it’s a cause he holds pretty close to his heart.

“I’ve seen kids struggle after getting meningitis, they’ve lost arms and legs and even gone deaf – so this is about awareness. I’m proud to say I’m supporting this campaign. You think it couldn’t happen to you but it does. It’s such a nasty disease, it spreads like wildfire.”

In the video he says, “The vaccination is free until December 16 so tell your cuzzies, your whanau to get in there and get that shot. Because, like I’ve said, it’s a really nasty disease and it’s pretty serious up in Northland at the moment.”

More than 30,000 children and youth across Northland have been vaccinated against Meningococcal C so far.

With a target of 85% now within reach, Northland DHB Medical Officer of Health Dr Clair Mills is appealing to those not yet vaccinated to act now, as Friday 16 December is the final day of the FREE vaccination programme.

“This vaccine is not cheap, if you have not been vaccinated by Friday, you will be expected to pay for it. This is a serious disease and we are offering the vaccination for free, please don’t wait, you can go to your GP or one of our community clinics” she said.

Health workers across the region have worked together to ensure all Northlanders aged 12 months to under 20 years take advantage of the free programme, established following a community outbreak of Meningococcal C, including three deaths. Dr Mills says the Meningococcal C team really appreciate Sonny Bill Williams coming forward to help spread the message.

“Everyone has worked really hard throughout the programme and I thank them all for their efforts. We have just one more week to go, one final push before we are no longer able to provide this vaccination for free,” Dr Mills added.

The Northland DHB toll-free phone number is still available, 24hours a day if anyone has questions about meningococcal disease or the vaccination. This number is 0800 430 123.

• The free Vaccination is available until Friday 16 December – after which you will have to pay for the vaccination.
• MeNZB vaccination will not provide protection from Meningococcal C – This is a completely different vaccine and the two bugs are different.
• If you want to know more about the vaccine or have any other concerns or questions, contact your GP or 0800 430 123.

The schedule of Community Clinics for the final week of the programme – 10-16 December:

Saturday 10 December – 2011

KAIKOHE WHANGAREI DARGAVILLE
Te Hau Ora O Kaikohe
(Opposite New World)
Sat 10am – 1pm

Shop 4 The Strand Arcade
Cameron Street
Sat 10am-1pm

Otaika Shopping Centre
(Mobile Unit)
10am-1pm

Cameron St Mall
(Mobile Unit)
10am-2pm

The Warehouse Car park (Mobile Unit)
10am-1pm

Week of 12-16 December 2011

KAITAIA KAIKOHE WHANGAREI DARGAVILLE
WINZ
34-36 Commerce St
Mon-Thur 9am- 4.30pm
Friday 9am-4pm
Te Hau Ora O Kaikohe
(Opposite New World)
Mon–Fri 9am–3pm
Thurs 12pm-6pm
Shop 4 The Strand Arcade
Cameron Street
Mon-Thurs 10am – 5pm
Friday 10am-4pm

Otaika Shopping Centre (Mobile Unit)
Mon-Fri 9.30am–4pm

Work and Income (WINZ)
Albert St, Whangarei
Mon 12th and Tues 13th
9.30am – 4pm

Ki a Ora Ngatiwai
420 Kamo Rd, Kamo
(next to WINZ)
Mon – Fri 8.30am-4.30pm

Lower Hokianga Rd
(Mobile Unit)
Mon, Tues, Wed,
10am-4.30pm
Fri 10am-3pm

Dargaville Growers
Market
Thursday 12-6pm

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 being 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 being offered to Northlanders is 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.

Dr Mills says meningococcal disease can be difficult to diagnose and anyone with symptoms should seek medical attention without delay, as early treatment is very important.
“If, despite earlier treatment, your condition deteriorates, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention again.”

If members of the public are concerned about meningococcal disease, or about the vaccination programme, they can talk to a public health nurse on the NDHB 0800 meningococcal information phone line – 0800 430 123.

This number is a Northland specific toll-free meningococcal line which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People can also get advice from Healthline (0800 611 116).
For more information on meningococcal disease, see:

• Ministry of Health http://www.moh.govt.nz/meningococcal.
• Immunisation Advisory Centre http://www.immune.org.nz/?T=665

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
• fever

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
• shivering
• vomiting, refusing feeds
• red or purple spots
• pain or irritability from muscle aches or severe limb/joint pain
• floppiness
• severe sleepiness.

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
• vomiting
• fever
• feeling drowsy, less responsive and confused
• a rash

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
• shivering
• rapid breathing
• red or purple spots
• vomiting
• fever
• diarrhoea and stomach cramps.

For further information about meningococcal disease visit the Ministry of Health website http://www.moh.govt.nz/meningococcal.

ENDS

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Original url