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Meningitis Vaccine Saves Young Lives

Meningitis Vaccine Saves Young Lives

Heather Roy
Thursday, 26 October 2006
Press Releases - Health


ACT Health Spokesman Heather Roy said today that she is appalled by National's Tony Ryall putting young lives at risk for cheap political points.

"Kiwi parents should be under no doubt that meningitis is a dangerous condition with devastating consequences, including death. The meningitis vaccine has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of deaths of New Zealand babies, toddlers and young people", Mrs Roy said.

"About 200 children and young people used to contract meningitis each year, almost a quarter of them dying or being left with a permanent disability.

"National Party health spokesman Tony Ryall yesterday tried to gain political points by wrongly suggesting a link between successful ACC claims and the meningitis vaccine. This attempt to discredit the government serves only to undermine public confidence in a safe and effective vaccine that saves children's lives.

"Tony Ryall has ignored scientific knowledge and conveniently confuses cause and effect, with most of the ACC claims in question the result of having an injection - any injection. To make a claim of causation is at best mischievous, and at worst, dishonest.

"ACC is a no-fault system - the fact that claims have been successful means only that an injury has occurred, not that the vaccine is to blame. Tony Ryall knows this. He has irresponsibly used ACC data to suggest that the vaccine is somehow the cause.

"Parents were not forced to vaccinate their children - they had to sign a consent form after reading the pros and cons. I signed the form for each of my children because meningitis is a terrible disease and the sooner it is eradicated, assisted by vaccination like smallpox and polio have been, the better.

"This debate should be based on safeguarding our children and scientific evidence - not about wildly irresponsible claims to get media coverage", Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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