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Further failures in flu jab fiasco (II)

Paul Hutchison
National Party Health Spokesman

19 April 2005

Further failures in flu jab fiasco (II)

National’s Health spokesman, Paul Hutchison, says the Minister and the Ministry of Health have no excuse for failing to ensure the flu vaccine is distributed rapidly.

“And neither do they have any excuse for failing to ensure they have a clear plan for who gets it first according to greatest need.

“The fact that the Director-General of Health was the first to be given the vaccine shows just how out of touch the ministry is with the public, who have been waiting for it since March 1.

“A practice nurse from South-Link Health says they still haven’t been told anything specific in writing as to when the full dose vaccine will arrive and how high-risk people should be prioritised.

“It’s ominous that yesterday there were rumours that the rollout date would be extended into May. It could start arriving as late as May 9, but no one seems certain. Meanwhile, it’s getting colder and the flu is on the way.

“The nurses are very concerned that the meningococcal vaccine rollout is due to begin on May 30 and the flu vaccine rollout has not even started. This will cause significant practical problems.

“They say they are being mucked around because they cannot plan.

“The least the Ministry and Minister can do is organise the rollout of the flu vaccine properly and communicate with the people who are expected to administer it.

“The Minister has shown no leadership on a public health issue of huge importance and, like the Ministry, has simply been inept,” Dr Hutchison says.

Ends

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