Northland health officials have rubbished claims on social media that it has vaccinated a child without consent in its meningococcal vaccination campaign.
Three Northland deaths from the meningococcal W strain promoted a mass vaccination campaign by Northland District Health Board (NDHB), aimed at immunising 22,707 children and youths aged between 9 months and 5 years, or 13 and 20 years.
With less than two weeks of the campaign left more than half the targeted people have been vaccinated, but NDHB said the effort is being undermined by ''incorrect, harmful information'' from an anti-vaccination group.
''NDHB is aware of incorrect, harmful information about vaccination consent being distributed by an anti-vaccination group on social media. The claim that a child was vaccinated without consent has been investigated and we can confirm that every child who has been vaccinated against the deadly meningococcal disease has been done so with signed consent," Medical Officer of Health Dr Jose Ortega Benito said.
Benito said consent was required by law for vaccination of children and adults in New Zealand. Young people over 16 can consent to have themselves vaccinated.
''While we respect that some people have independent views on vaccination, scaremongering and misleading information in our communities is extremely unhelpful.
''All parents, caregivers and young people make an informed decision about protecting their children or themselves and their decision should be respected."
He said parents and caregivers of those children who have not yet been vaccinated against meningococcal W are encouraged to do so immediately.
"Please take action now while you still can, the more children who are vaccinated the safer Northland will become."