Hundreds line up in rain for meningococcal vaccinations in Northland

Northland DHB says there's no need for people to queue in the rain with small children for their meningococcal vaccinations.

Hundreds of people waited in line for two hours in light drizzle in Whangārei this morning, on the first day of an emergency immunisation programme for the new W strain of the disease.

But the DHB says they won't miss out if they come back tomorrow, or later.

Spokesperson Roger Tuck, who's a retired paediatrician, said the vaccine may be in short supply globally, but Northland had enough to vaccinate everyone who was eligible.

That includes everyone aged 9 months to 5 years, and teenagers from 13 to 19.

Dr Tuck said it was good that people were keen to immunise their children but there was no need for panic.

He said meningococcal W was still a rare disease, though a terrible one, and the vaccine worked well against it.

Several hundred children and teenagers have been vaccinated today at community clinics in Kaitaia, Kerikeri and Whangārei.

The clinics will remain open over the next 17 days.

From today 25,000 meningococcal vaccines will be handed out in Northland, following three deaths. Source: 1 NEWS