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PHARMAC urged to protect all Kiwis from meningococcal disease

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Following PHARMAC’s announcement stating the meningococcal ACWY vaccine will be available free from next month for young people in close proximity living situations, Pete Rowlands, Director of the Meningitis Foundation says, "This is only one small step to ensuring all New Zealanders are protected against this deadly disease".

"We are encouraged to see PHARMAC taking this positive step towards protecting our vulnerable teenagers and young adults, and know that by vaccinating this group of people in close living situations, it will make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of our whānau.

"This announcement comes at a time when many students are completing their NCEA 3 exams, planning their move to university in 2020, and accepting a place at a halls of residence.

"It is vital that ALL young people aged between 13 and 25, who are currently, or will be moving into what the government terms "multi-residential institutions" take up this vaccination as soon as possible.

"But if you are returning to study in 2020 and looking to move into a share house or flat, it is also important to know that you may not be eligible for the vaccine," said Mr Rowlands.

Mr Rowlands calls for PHARMAC to demonstrate an unequivocal commitment to the people of New Zealand and protect all New Zealanders from all forms of meningococcal disease, including meningococcal B.

"Starting with this group of young people is good, but what about all of the other young Kiwis who are already living in shared flats or houses? They also deserve to be protected against meningococcal," said Pete.

"We also want PHARMAC to consider protecting our very young and most vulnerable as well. Infants and children under five years of age are most susceptible to meningococcal infection, and meningococcal B continues to be the most prevalent strain of meningococcal disease in New Zealand.

"Let’s not stop short of providing ALL New Zealanders with protection they deserve and should be entitled to, against ALL forms of the disease", added Pete.

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