February 25, 2021
School strep swab programme caught in COVID hysteria
Misinformation about a school swabbing programme could undermine an important health initiative.
The National Hauora Coalition and Counties Manukau Health says misinformation is spreading across social media that schools are testing children for COVID-19 without parental consent.
It appears to be directed against the Mana Kidz programme, which runs in 88 South Auckland area primary and intermediate schools.
The programme includes throat swabs to tamariki to detect streptococcal infections, which if untreated can lead to rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.
Parents are asked for consent to go on the programme when they enrol their children at the school.
The coalition and the DHB say no children involved in Mana Kidz are being swabbed for COVID-19 or being removed from school.
Rheumatic fever inequitably affects Māori and Pacific children in New Zealand.
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