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King pleased with cooperative approach

18 March 2005

King pleased with cooperative approach on more flu vaccine doses

Reaction to GSK pledging extra 360,000 flu vaccine doses

Health Minister Annette King says the outcome of negotiations for more doses of full strength flu vaccine is a wonderful example of the health sector working together.

Ms King today thanked GlaxoSmithKline, Pharmac and the Ministry of Health for their cooperative approach at a crucial and difficult time for New Zealand.

"It must be remembered that this situation only came about because of a manufacturing error at Sanofi-Pasteur. Since warnings were first given on February 28, less than three weeks ago, Pharmac and health officials have been working incredible hours to ensure that New Zealand obtained more doses of the full-strength vaccine.

"They have succeeded in a difficult negotiating environment where all the southern hemisphere countries have been looking for more vaccine at the same time. And they have also succeeded despite being forced to work in an environment in which some people were seeking to make political capital instead of working in the interests of New Zealanders. "

"I am pleased of what has been achieved, and thank health officials and GSK for their outstanding contributions."

Ms King said she now looked forward to the Ministry's announcement next week of how the flu vaccination programme would be rolled out this year.

"It's not all plain sailing yet, of course, but I am confident the experts are doing their job, just as Pharmac and the Ministry have been doing theirs. I hope people let them get on with it, instead of making their work more difficult."


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