Thursday, July 18, 2024

Free meningococcal shot for boarders

The Ministry of Health has announced that anyone aged 13 to 25 years who lives in boarding school hostels, tertiary education halls of residence or military barracks is eligible to receive the meningococcal ACWY vaccine free of charge, until 30 November 2021.

After this time, only those entering their first year of living in these institutions can be vaccinated for meningococcal ACWY free of charge.

In New Zealand, infants and children aged under 5 years and adolescents aged 15–19 years have an increased risk of meningococcal disease. Māori, particularly infants aged under 1 year, and Pacific peoples have a higher risk of meningococcal disease than other ethnic groups. Over 2018–2019, a high rate of group B and groups C, Y and W disease cases were also seen in young adults aged 20—29 years.

The initial symptoms are difficult to distinguish from other infectious illnesses, particularly flu-like illnesses. Symptoms usually progress quickly to a severe illness, often within 24 hours. A person with meningococcal disease may develop:

  • Meningitis (inflammation of the membranes around the brain)
  • Septicaemia (blood infection)
  • Pneumonia (lung infection)

Information about the harmful impacts of the disease can be found here – Meningococcal disease | Immunisation Advisory Centre

For more information about the vaccine visit the Immunisation Advisory Centre’s online FAQ resource for the meningococcal vaccine

The vaccine can be accessed through your local GP, free of charge.

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