Letters To The Editor; Meningitis Vax Dangerous?
On Monday Auckland-based journalist Jon Eisen issued Scoop with an article examining the safety of New Zealand's Meningococcal vaccine. Scoop approached the Ministry of Health (MoH) to comment on the findings. It has done so and refutes Eisen's claims. Scoop has published both sides of this most important issue and calls for the medical fraternity including researchers and medical students to analyse the findings and claims. See… Jon Eisen's Commentary Is Inaccurate And Dangerous (includes Eisen's claims).
Amazing. The response from 'Ministry of Health Meningococcal Vaccine Strategy director '! Dr Jane O'Hallahan , to the issues highlighted by Jon Eisen is shameful.
Jon makes some excellent and, I would have thought , rather important observations from the package insert . Its all in black and white.
I would be very interested indeed to hear a 'proper' doctor explain how Jon has misinterpreted the words printed on the insert.
Lets not forget that by releasing the vaccine for use nationwide (est. 150,000 kids) someone somewhere is Cashing In. Not you , not me , not the Government...hmmmmm.
The simplified ' easy to understand' Brochure that parents are given (the package insert is only given after persistent requests) when their child is to be vaccinated does not detail the dangers anywhere near as much. Some are not even mentioned.
That booklet was PRINTED in April 2004. Include shooting the photos , layout and design , and it becomes apparent that the Meningitis 'epidemic' has been known about since the beginning of this year!!!!
Also , anyone notice how after saturating the media with meningitis horror stories and graphic pictures of infected children ...that once the vaccine has started flowing , the stories have disappeared.
But it was the most important issue of the year ?????
What happened ??????
They couldn't have eradicated it already! ? !
Or is this just a reminder that most journalists in this country are crap and all the talent is whoring itself in PR?
Mikey Havoc - Auckland, New Zealand.
Lizards In The Vaccination
Eisen believes in the existence of UFOs and various wonderful machines suppressed by the lizards of global capitalism because they defied the laws of physics and threatened their profits. Which ki nd of makes me not believe him.
Greg Meylan - Auckland, New Zealand.
Trust Us Plebs We're Doctors
Love the MOH reply. the old 'trust us, we're doctors' response. And after all, they have spent all that time at university, they should more than us poor, uneducated parents who just want enough information to make an informed consent. What's wrong with a glossy brochure anyway?
Name Withheld on Request - New Zealand
Another ‘Unfortunate Experiment’ in the making?
Re the MoH’s far less that reassuring reply from Dr Jane O’Hallahan to Jonathan Eisen’s article on the ‘unknown quantity’ that the experimental Meningococcal vaccine is, Eisen’s claims are supported by Dr Simon Roughan in a recent letter to the British Journal of Medicine
(1). Roughan writes: We are very familiar here in New Zealand with how this Helen Clark Labour Government regularly cover up the dismantling of proven health safety mechanisms such as the IMMP [Intensive Medicines Monitoring Programme], to blur future health monitoring statistics, or future research.
This appears to be a way of concealing from the public any blunders that their new baby "MedSafe" or the incompetence of their new Trans Tasman Agency, is likely to make, regarding adverse drug reactions on an unsuspecting public. The more diffuse the agency, the greater the blur of blame, and the public are again cheated out of any accountability, either by professionals or politicians.
Of particular concern at present is the rushed introduction and rollout of an experimental nationwide Meningococcal Vaccination on the less advantaged in the population. The commitment of the New Zealand Government to this prototype vaccine, to which it has spent $200 million, and tied its future election hopes, is frightening.
Possibly it doesn't want some agency such as the tried and true IMMP detecting and documenting the notable and considerable toxic disasters that will flow from this quickly-engineered politically-motivated vaccine push.
To bury the IMMP in the shadows and mirrors that makes up the ever mushrooming Ministry of Health, will be at the cost of patients and the public. The New Zealand public, and patients on medication, want to see more, not less, attention paid to monitoring the safety of medicines and vaccines.
They want a safe and transparent monitoring agency independent of the Ministry of Health.
The loss of IMMP would considerably damage the current high standard of pharmacoviglilance in New Zealand. Roughan’s letter is one of several from eminent physicians around the globe decrying Annette King’s recent cancellation of the IMMP
(2). Can New Zealanders trust a Minister of Health who unilaterally cancels the contract of our only independent medicine-safety monitoring unit, an action that other politicians were unaware of, while having her ‘spin’ doctor expect us to trust her assurances that this clearly experimental vaccine is safe?
Emotively, O’Hallahan writes: Journalists who promote inaccurate and emotive claims are totally irresponsible. If believed, their unsubstantiated claims could lead to more unnecessary death and misery for the most vunerable [sic] in our country. She further talks about “expected protection” from the vaccine, but does not offer any reassurance, let alone guarantee, as to its safety.
After reading Eisen’s article in conjunction with the letters in the BMJ, I am even more wary of King’s real motives. King is hell-bent on ‘harmonising’ as much of our public health structures with Australia’s much more lax ones, as her continued refusal to ensure our foods remain GE-free amply demonstrates.
Nobbling our only independent medicine-safety monitoring agency simply furthers the big drug companies desire to be unchallenged and King’s manipulation of parents’ fear of meningitis to test a vaccine on “the most vulnerable in our country” (to use O’Hallahan’s phrase) is unconscionable. Will this become another ‘unfortunate experiment’?
Only if New Zealanders’ allow it to be and we don’t have to.
1. Simon Roughan’s letter. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/eletters/329/7456/51
2. Letters from other physicians. http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/329/7456/51 http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/329/7463/460-c http://bmj.bmjjournals.com/cgi/eletters/329/7456/51
Dave Taggart - Napier, New Zealand.