The Northland District Health Board is offering phone data vouchers as an incentive for eligible 13 to 20-year-olds to be vaccinated against the meningococcal W outbreak.

With three weeks left, Northland DHB medical officer of health Dr Jose Ortega Benito said vaccinating 13 to under 20-year-olds was really important because that was the age group that generally carried the bacteria that caused the disease.

"Even if they have no symptoms, carriers can infect those around them. Vaccinating this age group will lower the number of carriers in Northland and stop the spread of meningococcal disease across the entire community," Benito said.

Phase Three of the outbreak vaccination campaign is under way with pharmacy, general practice, targeted Māori Provider outreach and secondary school-based clinics offering free vaccinations.


In the past two weeks, Benito said two new cases of invasive meningococcal disease were reported in Auckland and Canterbury and with the usual increase in cases in winter, it was vital the Northland community was better protected.

As of February 3, he said 11,797 children had been vaccinated against meningococcal W.

"Sadly we had three deaths in Northland last year and therefore we are really focused on ensuring that every single eligible Northland child is given the opportunity to be protected."

There are 22,707 eligible children in Northland.

"The DHB is offering the chance to win five $200 phone data vouchers as incentive for all children to return a signed consent form and receive the vaccination over the next two weeks," Benito said.

"Northland could be the safest place in New Zealand from meningococcal W if we get high enough levels of coverage from the outbreak campaign, so offering the chance to win some phone data might just encourage those undecided to go ahead."