4 Feb 2019

Meningitis vaccine for ages 5-12 needed - Whangārei MP Shane Reti

12:12 pm on 4 February 2019

National MP for Whangārei Shane Reti is urging the government to vaccinate 20,000 Northland children who are not eligible for free meningitis shots.

The queue outside the vax clinic at  Whangarei Girls High

The queue outside the vax clinic at Whangarei Girls High Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

Northland Health is in the midst of a vaccination programme for the new W strain of the disease after two children died of it last year.

The DHB is targeting the under-fives and teenagers, the groups most at risk, because its funding won't stretch to cover five to 12-year-olds.

Dr Reti said protecting that age group in the north would cost only $700,000, about the same as building 35m of new road.

He said many parents with ineligible children had contacted him, desperate to have them vaccinated but unable to afford the private cost of $110.

Northland DHB said more than half the children eligible for free shots had been vaccinated and there'd been no new cases of the disease over summer.

It's aiming to vaccinate thousands more this month through in-school programmes.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs