The lollies and stickers were out in force as children at Hikurangi School were vaccinated against meningococcal W for free thanks to a community fundraising campaign.

Vaccination day as it was duly dubbed yesterday - was the realisation of local woman Shona Whitehead's goal.

In March, she had started a campaign to raise funds so children at the school who were ineligible for the free vaccinations because they were aged five to 12, could be immunised for free before winter.

When donations hit nearly $18,000 in April, the fundraising group decided it could go ahead with the vaccinations and set about ordering vaccines and organising consent forms.

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Fundraising campaign organiser Shona Whitehead supports her grandson William Whitaker, 7, while he gets his vaccine. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Fundraising campaign organiser Shona Whitehead supports her grandson William Whitaker, 7, while he gets his vaccine. Photo/Michael Cunningham

Yesterday, it all came together.

"It's overwhelming, it's very overwhelming," Whitehead said.

"I'm just glad that we're able to get these children vaccinated today because winter's coming and we've had a death last year. Meningococcal disease is very scary but we're vaccinating today - it's giving our children protection against meningococcal disease."

Whitehead had five grandchildren who were all vaccinated at the school as a result of the campaign.

Whangārei MP Dr Shane Reti, who had sourced the vaccines at cost as part of Whitehead's campaign, got back to his roots as one of four people administering the vaccines.

Healthy Hikurangi trustees Neil and Paulette Crowther and Linda Vanstone who helped with fundraising with Hikurangi School principal Bruce Crawford. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Healthy Hikurangi trustees Neil and Paulette Crowther and Linda Vanstone who helped with fundraising with Hikurangi School principal Bruce Crawford. Photo/Michael Cunningham

He said the vaccinations provided "90 to 95 per cent cover for this high risk community" a figure which he wasn't sure any other Northland community would reach.

"It's a very good day for this community and I'm proud of them. It's fantastic because we know our kids are safe."

He said staff at the school had sent out all the consent forms and then rang each family to make sure they got their forms back in.

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Crawford said one 175 students were vaccinated yesterday, out of the school's 216 students.

Nine students opted not to get the vaccine and the rest had already been vaccinated.

Whangārei MP Dr Shane Reti talks through the vaccination with Shona Whitehead and her twin six-year-old granddaughters Khalia and Sharlee Whitehead. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Whangārei MP Dr Shane Reti talks through the vaccination with Shona Whitehead and her twin six-year-old granddaughters Khalia and Sharlee Whitehead. Photo/Michael Cunningham

Three Northland deaths from the meningococcal W strain prompted a mass vaccination campaign by Northland District Health Board (NDHB) late last year.

One of those deaths was 7-year-old Alexis Albert, from Hikurangi.

Two age groups were eligible for free immunisations - vulnerable youngsters aged from nine months to under five years, and those aged from 13 to 20 years, the cohort most likely to spread the disease.

In March, officials urged people to get their eligible children vaccinated after a Hokianga child contracted the potentially fatal illness. The child was treated and discharged.