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PHARMAC announces extension to Menactra eligibility

From 1 December 2019, PHARMAC is widening access to meningococcal ACWY vaccine (Menactra®) for people aged 13–25 years in a close-living situation. 

The proposal was approved as consulted on except, as a result of consultation feedback, some changes to the eligibility criteria to clarify that people entering board school hostels, tertiary education halls of residence, military barracks or prisons within the next 3 months would be eligible for vaccination before they enter these institutions. Click on this link to read the full PHARMAC notification on their website.

Answers to anticipated frequent questions

Who will be eligible?

  • From 1 December 2019, meningococcal ACWY vaccination will be funded for individuals aged 13–25 years in their first year of living in a boarding school hostel, tertiary education hall of residence, military barracks or prison.
  • There will also be a catch-up programme from 1 December 2019 to 30 November 2020 for those  aged 13–25 years who are already in one of these close-living situations.

Are international students eligible?

  • All students aged under 18 years are eligible to receive funded vaccines as per the National Immunisation Schedule regardless of residency status.
  • Students aged 18 years or older must be eligible to receive publicly funded health and disability services in New Zealand to receive funded vaccines, including meningococcal ACWY vaccine.

How do eligible individuals access the vaccine?

  • From 1 December 2019 those who qualify would be able to make an appointment with their primary care provider to receive the meningococcal ACWY vaccination up to 3 months before entering a boarding school hostel, tertiary education hall of residence, military barracks or prison close-living situation.

How far in advance of moving into a close-living situation should people be vaccinated?

  • Eligible individuals will be able to receive the meningococcal ACWY vaccination up to 3 months before entering a boarding school hostel, tertiary education hall of residence, military barracks or prison close-living situation. Ideally, people would be vaccinated at least two weeks prior to moving into a close-living situation.

How many doses are required?

  • One dose for individuals who are in their first year of living in a boarding school hostel, tertiary education hall of residence, military barracks or prison; or
  • One dose for individuals who are currently living in a boarding school hostel, tertiary education hall of residence, military barracks, or prison, from 1 December 2019 to 30 November 2020.
  • Individuals who have previously received a dose of meningococcal ACWY vaccine (Menactra® or Nimenrix®) do not require a booster dose for 5 years.

How does primary care access vaccine?

  • The funded vaccine, Menactra, can be ordered from ProPharma when the practice places an order for other Immunisation Schedule vaccines.

Can primary care claim for providing the vaccine?

  • Yes. Primary care providers can claim an Immunisation Subsidy for administration of the vaccination in the same way they claim for other 'special groups’ funded vaccinations.

Who else can receive funded meningococcal ACWY vaccine?

A small group of individuals with a high-risk medical condition listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule can receive funded meningococcal ACWY vaccine. Refer to our fact sheet Funded vaccines for special groups from 1 July 2017 or Table 12.4 in the current Immunisation Handbook:

Special groups on the Immunisation Schedule

  • Pre/post-splenectomy or with functional asplenia.
  • HIV positive.
  • Inherited or acquired complement deficiency.
  • Pre/post-solid organ transplantation.
  • Following stem cell/bone marrow transplantation.
  • Following immunosuppression for longer than 28 days.
  • Adolescents and young adults aged 13–25 years in a close-living situation, e.g. boarding school, university hall of residence, military barracks or prison.
  • Close contact of a meningococcal disease case.

Last updated: Dec 2019