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King must front up over vaccine crisis

King must front up over vaccine crisis

Annette King and the Ministry of Health must be honest about the reality of the flu vaccine botch-up, says National’s Health spokesman, Paul Hutchison.

“While Ms King hides from responsibility, it appears the Ministry of Health is underplaying the significance of what could be a major public health crisis,” says Dr Hutchison.

The flu vaccine was due on March 1, to be rolled out to around 750,000 vulnerable elderly, people with chronic respiratory disease, and health professionals.

“According to health professionals in the South Island the delay in the flu vaccine will interfere with the meningococcal vaccine roll-out. It could be an absolute shambles,” says Dr Hutchison.

“It is thought the problem is with one of the three strains in the vaccine, and that the vaccine is around five times more diluted than it should be to be effective.”

Dr Hutchison says he understands South American countries might accept the vaccine as it is, because they know a more effective vaccine won’t be available in time for winter.

“It is appalling that Ms King and the Ministry of Health did not ensure there was a contingency plan for such an important vaccine.

“For Labour to crow about its preparations for the Avian (bird) flu, but potentially put lives at risk over the predictable yearly flu is unacceptable.

“King must front up to her responsibilities immediately,” says Dr Hutchison.

© Scoop Media

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