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Minister must explain flu vaccine hold-up

Minister must explain flu vaccine hold-up

The Minister of Health must explain why supplies of the half strength flu vaccination Vaxigrip have failed to make it to many of the country's GPs and health centres on time, ACT Health spokesman Heather Roy said today.

The flu vaccination programme was supposed to start today, yet many GPs are still waiting for supplies of Vaxigrip, despite it having been in the country since the end of March.

"GPs in provincial centres like Invercargill and Hawke's Bay haven't got it," Mrs Roy said. "Annette King must be made to explain why."

Further, the vaccination programme for the full strength vaccine is scheduled to start on April 28, yet Mrs Roy said she understood that only 100,000 doses of the 400,000 full strength vaccines required had arrived in the country.

Health providers have been told not to vaccinate the over 65's or the vulnerable - those with conditions such as heart disease or diabetes - with the half strength vaccine.

"With only a quarter of the required doses of the full strength vaccine available who knows if that vaccination programme will go ahead on time. This will put those who need vaccinating against the flu the most, in peril of being struck down by winter bugs," Mrs Roy said.

"This fiasco is what you would expect from a third world country and it began with Pharmac trying to save a few cents by changing a contract that had worked well for seven years," Mrs Roy said.


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