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Minister's Claims Bizarre

Minister's Claims Bizarre


Ron Law
Risk & Policy Analyst


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"The Minister of Health's claims that the effectiveness of the MeNZB campaign 'had been such a success' are bizarre and at odds with available facts," says independent Risk & Policy Analyst, Ron Law.

The decline in meningococcal disease cases was well in hand before the contentious vaccine was released, and has continued unabated.

The number of total deaths has not declined since the vaccine was rolled out.

Already this year two vaccinated infants have died; from data made available by the minister no unvaccinated children have died from meningococcal disease since the MeNZB rollout -- only children given the MeNZB vaccine have died.

The vaccine has had zero impact on cases in babies and may have reduced the natural decline that was already occuring. (see graph)

It is also very poor form for the Minister to now be quoting only confirmed epidemic strain data when all cases (confirmed and unconfirmed) in all age groups were used to con the Cabinet into wasting $250+ million dollars on this unfortunate experiment.

It is also worth noting recent challenges to the Ministry of Health's lack of candour regarding release of objective data as well as the questioning of the actual effectiveness of the MeNZB vaccine.

The principal researcher… has recently doubted the reliability of the effectiveness estimates quoted by the Ministry of Health.

Professor Lennon has also stated in the New Zealand Medical journal "Thus, since late 2005, in the highest risk areas where the immunisation programme began (northern New Zealand), most children are likely not to have had antibody protection against the New Zealand meningococcal epidemic strain. Despite this, the decay of the epidemic continues. In addition, it is well documented that serogroup B meningococcal epidemics naturally decay over 10�15 years."

The Minister concludes his press release with a quote straight from Wyeth Pharmaceutical's PR manual by making the equally bizarre claim that Pneumococcal disease is now having a greater impact on the community.

The challenge for the new Minister is for him to come clean and release all of the data that the Ministry of Health holds on meningococcal disease in New Zealand so that the medical and research communities and ordinary mums and dads can see for themselves whether the Ministry of Health has manipulated the data.

ENDS

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