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Meningococcal disease and immunisation in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes areas

Meningococcal disease and immunisation in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes areas

As you would be aware, there is an outbreak of meningococcal disease (type W) in Northland. In response, the Ministry of Health has announced a meningococcal vaccination programme in Northland for children aged 9 months to 4 years, and those aged 13 to 19 years.

We do not have a meningococcal outbreak in the Bay of Plenty or Lakes District Health Board areas. There have been 12 reported cases of meningococcal disease across our region this year which remains within the expected range. However, we have had a change in the type of meningococcal disease that is occuring; three cases of meningococcal type W have been reported this year. Of note, the most recent case of meningococcal disease in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes areas was in September 2018.

Toi Te Ora Public Health continues to monitor the situation closely and follow up all cases of meningococcal disease in our region.

Currently, there is no change to our meningococcal immunisation recommendations and an immunisation programme for children and youth in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes (or elsewhere in New Zealand other than Northland) has not been recommended.

The only recommendations for meningococcal immunisation are as previously, and outlined in the Ministry of Health Immunisation Handbook (see link below) and include:

  1. People with a specific medical condition (eg, asplenia) (funded)
  2. Adolescents and young adults going in to hostels or communal accommodation, such as students going into university halls (not funded)
  3. People travelling to specific high risk countries (not funded)
  4. Contacts of cases (co-ordinated by Public Health) (funded).

Where the indication is for travel, the vaccine given will depend on the country of destination. There is not an immunisation recommendation for those travelling to Northland. When the indication is as a contact of a case the vaccine given will be determined by the strain isolated from the index case, and Public Health co-ordinates this follow up.

For the other indications for meningococcal immunisation (ie, 1 and 2 above), both the vaccine for Type B (Bexsero) and the vaccine for A,C,Y and W (Menactra or Nimenrix) may be given.

In other situations (that do not meet the criteria described in the Ministry of Health Immunisation Handbook), and where parents or patients are requesting meningococcal vaccination, it is recommended to have a discussion to explain the risk and provide reassurance as outlined above. If patients or parents do nevertheless wish to proceed with vaccination it is not funded, and will be at their own expense.

For advice on the available vaccines, please see:

For more information see:

Updated 3 December

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