$200 Million Program Saves (Estimated) Three
Dr Richard Arnold, head of the Victoria University team which carried out an effectiveness study into the staggered roll-out of the MeNZB(TM) immunisation programme today told a media conference that an estimated two to three lives to date had been saved due to the $200 million vaccination program.
According to a Ministry of Health press release the Government committed $200 million to the Meningococcal Vaccine Strategy which has paid for the development of a strain-specific vaccine, clinical trials and implementation of our biggest mass immunisation campaign for all New Zealanders under 20 years old. A further $22 million has been allocated over the next three years to extend the programme.
At the time the vaccine was rolled out the Meningococcal B epidemic was decreasing throughout most of New Zealand however there was no evidence that the disease was waning in the northern part of New Zealand according to Meningococcal B Immunisation Programme Director Dr Jane O'Hallahan.
Dr O Hallahan pointed out that the estimates for how many cases had been prevented and how many lives had been saved were "conservative".
The Minister of Health Pete Hodgson announced in a press releases that "evidence released today demonstrating the effectiveness of the MeNZB vaccine confirms that the government's decision to invest in ending the Meningococcal B epidemic was the right one."
Following the Ministry Of Health press conference Don Matheson Deputy Director-General Public Health explained to Scoop that if you are looking at the cost benefit analysis of the vaccine it was necessary to look at how long the Meningococcal B epidemic would have lasted without intervention.
Listen to the media ask questions about the effectiveness of the $200 million Meningococcal B vaccine program
Listen to Dr Richard Arnold and Dr Jane O'Hallahan talk the media through Dr Arnold's effectiveness study