5 Dec 2018

Emergency vax clinics open in north to combat menW

8:13 am on 5 December 2018

An emergency vaccination campaign begins in Northland today to combat the deadly new 'W' strain of meningococcal disease.

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Photo: Andrey Popov 123RF

There have been 29 cases nationally - seven of them in Northland, and three of those fatal.

The first 10,000 doses of vaccine arrived in Whangārei from Australia yesterday and community immunisation clinics open in Northland this morning.

Northland DHB is aiming to vaccinate 20,000 children and teenagers in three weeks.

Because the vaccine's in short supply, it's targeting the highest risk age groups - nine months to five years and teenagers.

The DHB has pulled in 40 staff from around the region to deliver the free shots, starting this morning at Kaitaia Hospital, Kerikeri High School and Whangārei Girls' High School.

The clinics are open seven days a week from 11am.

There'll also be shorter clinics in smaller towns but the DHB says it needs to hit the the main centres first to immunise the greatest number in the shortest time.

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