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Hawke's Bay DHB Joins Meningococcal Pseudo-Science

Hawke's Bay District Health Board Joins Meningococcal Pseudo-Science

Press Statement

Ron Law - Independent Risk & Policy Analyst

"The Hawke's Bay District Health Board Meningococcal Figures issued in its 25 November 2004 press release continues the promulgation of the Ministry of Health's false and falsified pseudoscience," says risk & policy analyst, Ron Law.

New Zealand has never been in the "grip of a meningococcal B epidemic that has killed 220 people since 1991 and has seriously affected thousands more. More than 5400 cases have been reported and the country has one of the highest rates of the disease in the developed world."

This statement is pseudo-science on numerous counts.

1. According to official statistics released by the Minister of Health, less than 50% of all cases of reported meningococcal disease have been confirmed as being of the meningogoccal B strain targeted by the MeNZB(tm) vaccine. To knowingly claim or imply that all cases of meningococcal disease is due to the MeNZB(tm) strain is fraudulent science.

2. The ESR has stated in its reports that between 10 and 25% of all cases are falsely diagnosed as meningococcal disease; the Minister has refused to deny this and mysteriously says that the figures have been 'taken out of context."

3. The Minister of Health yesterday released data showing that the number of confirmed cases of meningococcal disease in the Hawkes Bay District Health Board Region due to the bacteria targeted by the MeNZB(tm) vaccine have declined by at least 82% since peak levels in 1997 in the Hawkes Bay DHB region --[cases in all of NZ peaked in 2001] in the targeted vaccine group, under 20 year olds.

4. The Ministry of Health's cost benefit analysis released this week under the Official Information Act and used to justify the MeNZB(tm) vaccination program was based on all under one year olds being vaccinated FIVE times and all others FOUR times. That fact has not been made public until now. Cabinet was not told this either, but told that under one year olds 'might' need a single booster, but that over one year olds wouldn't.

5. The target for meningococcal disease reduction in the Hawkes Bay region [60% in the Ministry of Health's cost benefit analysis] has already been exceeded - NATURALLY and without the benefit of any experimental vaccine.

6. The HBDHB stated that meningococcal disease , "has seriously affected thousands more." In fact, fewer than 1,000 people of all ages have been adversely affected by all strains of meningococcal disease; simply put, the Ministry of Heath has not bothered to research the sequelae caused by the MeNZB(tm) strain of bacteria... based on the fact that the so-called epidemic strain of meningococcal disease have the lowest recorded fatality rate of any meningococcal bacteria anywhere in the world, it is unlikely that more than a few hundred New Zealanders have suffered permanent adverse effects during the whole so-called epidemic. The 20% 'serious sequelae" figure is a simple guess based on adverse effects of the much more severe types A and C strains.

7. The HBDHB stated that the MeNZB(tm) vaccination experiment "was started in Counties/Manukau last year and is being implemented progressively throughout the country." This is incorrect; It was started in July of this year.

8. Given that Treasury's independent cost benefit ratio revealed that the costs of the experimental vaccine were 700% times the threshold for normal approval and unwarranted in economic terms when meningococcal cases were at [national] peak levels in 2001, and given that the number of cases due to the MeNZB(tm) strain of meningococcal disease have declined 80% since then, there is no rational reason for commencing the proposed experimental vaccination program in the Hawkes Bay region.

It is morally and scientifically wrong and fallacious for the Hawkes Bay District Health Board to be using total meningococcal cases for all age groups in New Zealand to justify the experimental and untested mass vaccination of all under 20 year olds in the Hawkes Bay area.

"Why don't the Hawkes Bay District Health Board's Spin Doctors use factual, meaningful and relevant scientific data to attempt to justify the experimental mass MeNZB(tm) vaccination campaign? "asks Ron Law (09 832 4773) "Is it because the Board knows that it simply wouldn't stand up to rational scrutiny? Regurgitating the Ministry of Health's pseudo-science uncritically is scientifically indefensible."

"This is another reason why there needs to be a formal royal commission of inquiry into the falsification of meningococcal disease data, via omission and commission, by the Minister and Ministry of Health," says Ron Law.

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