October 06, 2023
Cost block for meningitis vaccine
The Mengingitis Foundation says government inaction over a national vaccination programme for meningitis is going to cost more lives – especially among Māori and Pasifika communities.
Spokesperson Gerard Rushton says the vaccine is currently only free for babies and children up to 5 years old, and for teens in boarding schools, university dorms, defense barracks and prisons where the risk of spread is greater.
Maori and Pasifika communities have much higher meningococcal disease risks, and they can least afford to pay for their own vaccines.
“If they’re not eligible for a free one it is expensive – it can be $300 to $400. So that’s why we think its really unfair that those Maori and Pasifika are not eligible for free vaccines, because everyone should be eligible to be vaccinated for free,” Mr Rushton says.
Yesterday was World Meningitis Day.