Meningococcal B Cases and Deaths Decline Naturally
Meningococcal B Cases and Deaths Decline -- Naturally
Beyond Alternative Solutions
"If the Ministry of Health wants to be taken seriously by the public and politicians, then it has to be honest in its risk communications," says risk and policy analyst, Ron Law (09-832 4773).
"Why is the Mystery of Health not celebrating the fact that there has been a natural 75% decrease in deaths and a 49% decrease in the number of meningococcal disease cases since the epidemic peaked in 2001?" asks Ron Law.
"Could it be that promulgating these stunning facts might mean less political and public enthusiasm for its MeNZB campaign? Or maybe it is because it will be impossible for the Ministry to claim any success for its MeNZB campaign in the future if the public and politicians knew the truth?"
The Ministry of Health has announced the completion of the first 100,000 vaccinations with its experimental MeNZB vaccine. Given its target of reaching 1.15 million New Zealanders, and given that three vaccinations are required to achieve the 75% immune response rate desired, that means that the programme has completed less than 3.3% of its target in terms of vaccinations given.
Comparing the Ministry's Meningococcal Disease Update Week 38:11/09/2004 to 17/09/2004, to week 38 reports for 2001, 2002, and 2003, there has been a steady decline in the number of cases and and an even more dramatic decline in the number of deaths due to meningococcal B disease since the peak in 2001.
It is noted that the MOH is using total Meningococcal disease to wage its PR campaign against a particular strain of Meningococcal bacteria. Based on MOH information, in 2003 71.5% of laboratory confirmed cases were caused by the strain that the vaccine is designed to protect against. The following data are adjusted accordingly.
Year to week 38 Cases Cumulative decline (%) Deaths Cumulative decline (%)
2002 309 2% 9 43%
2003 293 7% 6 63%
2004 161 49% 4 75%
Based on Ministry of Health advice, Health Minister Annette King falsely stated in July 2004 that, "The epidemic has shown no signs of abating..." Why was the Minister mislead by her officials?
In its euphemistically called, 'Fact Sheet number 1," the Ministry of Health said, "Rates of disease are still at peak levels and the epidemic is expected to last at least another 10 years if there is no vaccine developed."
"This statement, masqueraded as fact, is clearly scientifically false and one can only surmise as to why the Ministry of Health would knowingly mislead both the Minister and the public by making such false statements," says Ron Law.
The evidence is speaks for itself. There is clearly no scientific basis for continuing the MeNZB programme; it should be suspended forthwith.
This is important to not only protect the wellbeing of 1.15 million New Zealanders at risk, but perhaps even more importantly, to protect the credibility of important future public health initiatives.
This appears to be further evidence for the need for a formal and independent Royal Commission of Inquiry into Ministry of Health's consistent use of false, falsified and misleading information.