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Further failures in flu jab fiasco

Dr Paul Hutchison MP
National Party Health Spokesman

18 April 2005

Further failures in flu jab fiasco

National Party Health spokesman Paul Hutchison says “Annette King must front up to her failures in the flu jab fiasco and explain why the South Island is being forced to wait in line for the vaccine”.

“Annette King is presiding over the biggest health system bureaucracy ever known to New Zealand, yet her army of bureaucrats is still unable to organise delivery of a vaccine that’s been sitting on the wharves for weeks,” says Dr Hutchison.

He is commenting on information received from South Island doctors who say the Vaxigrip flu jabs haven’t been made available to them from today as planned.

“The Minister continues to gloss over this issue with cavalier casualness. She still insists she did not know the nature of the problem between February 28th and March 7th, when Australian news media, Pharmac, MedSafe and the Health Ministry certainly did know.

“Now we’ve got yet another muck-up, as South Island doctors wait to take delivery of the vaccine they’ve been promised for weeks. Annette King is playing Russian roulette with the lives of vulnerable New Zealanders.”

Leading GP Dr Paul McCormack has said he is appalled at how ‘the Ministry was holding the flu vaccine up to give GPs more time to organise’.

“This is a significant insult to GPs who have been expecting the vaccine for some time. They and their patients are becoming hugely frustrated by these delays. The fact that the Vaxigrip vaccine has been in New Zealand since March 31 leaves no room for any more excuses from MedSafe, the Minister or the Ministry.

“Doctors have warned that any delay will make it harder for them to roll out the meningococcal vaccine at the same time and that the chances of a flu outbreak increase every day.

“Every year, New Zealanders are being killed by the flu and its complications. This is preventable, and the Minister should be planning for the inevitability of the annual flu season at least a year in advance,” says Dr Hutchison.

ENDS

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