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Minister Fails To Assure On Meningococcal Vaccine

No assurances from Minister on meningococcal vaccine

The Minister of Health failed to give any assurance to the Health Select Committee today that the meningococcal vaccination campaign would begin in the near future, says National's Associate Health spokesman, Dr Paul Hutchison.

Despite earlier claims by the Minister that the meningococcal vaccine is safe, it is yet to be licensed by Medsafe, and officials told the Select Committee they are waiting for final checking from international experts.

Dr Hutchison says the meningococcal epidemic is very serious and it is worrying that Minister Annette King still can't give any assurances two weeks after telling Parliament the vaccine is safe.

"It is alarming that the Minister refuses to give the public any more information about the suspect vaccine.

"She has an obligation to address concerns that the whole batch of vaccine may need to be thrown out, and that valuable health dollars are being wasted on hired vaccinators who have nothing to do. "Furthermore, the Minister has denied it was unwise and premature of her to tell Parliament on 17 June that 'the vaccine is safe, and will provide protection against the epidemic strain Group B meningococcal disease', when, on the following day, it was revealed Medsafe had still not licensed the vaccine," he said.

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