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IMAC slams Norwegian documentary


Media release, 2/11/06

IMAC slams Norwegian documentary

Doctors at the University of Auckland’s Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) are appalled by a Norwegian documentary that portrays the MeNZB vaccine as unproven and unsafe.

“The content in the programme ranges from scaremongering to dishonesty and we are concerned that the producers have portrayed an inflammatory account of the Norwegian vaccine trials which is by no means accurate,” says Dr Nikki Turner, Director of IMAC.

“For example, statements are made about 27 fully immunised children who have contracted the vaccine strain of disease in New Zealand. They failed to mention that 158 partially and unvaccinated children had also contracted the disease.”

“Science never speaks in absolutes, which is often at odds with what parents want to hear. The vaccine is 80% effective in providing protection against meningococcal B and does not increase the risk of serious neurological events.”

“There have been over 3 million doses of the MeNZB vaccine delivered. Most adverse events are sore arms and this is common. The adverse events of a more serious nature that are probably, or maybe related to the vaccine have been, 6 cases of thrombocytopenia (transient low platelets, note that the first 200,000 vaccines were intensively monitored for this condition and there was no increase in cases), 2 cases of Henoch Schönlein Purpura (rash and unwellness), 195 cases of urticaria (hives), 102 cases of other hypersensitivity and 9 anaphylactic events, (6 were mild). Three other events were not considered to be vaccine related.”

“The MeNZB vaccine has a proven safety profile and has contributed to the reduction of meningococcal B disease. This is a fantastic achievement.”

“Trotting out cases of adverse events that may or may not have been caused by the vaccine is trial by media - not science. The real question is ‘do these vaccines give the recipients a higher chance of developing a serious condition than those who do not receive the vaccine?’ The answer is a resounding NO.”

In other countries where similar television programmes have screened, there have been drops in immunisation rates leading to increases in vaccine-preventable diseases and associated deaths and disability.

“We do not want to see this unnecessary tragedy occur in New Zealand. Parents’ decisions about immunisation need to be based on science, not misinformation.” says Dr Turner.

ENDS

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