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Ministry U-turn on meningococcal vaccine

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

26 October 2006

Ministry U-turn on meningococcal vaccine

Parents are entitled to be fully informed of the risks and benefits of the meningococcal vaccination, says National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"The Government should not be sanitising the information it gives parents. This is an issue of informed consent, not the safety of the vaccine,” says Mr Ryall.

“The Ministry of Health and the Minister have now admitted there have been significant adverse events associated with the MeNZB programme, after steadfastly saying there weren't any.”

Mr Hodgson said in answer to a parliamentary question yesterday: ‘I agree that there is no evidence of any significant adverse health event associated with the MeNZB vaccine’. (WQ 14439)

Four days earlier the Ministry of Health issued a lengthy rebuttal of a Norwegian documentary on the vaccine, assuring there was ‘no evidence of any significant adverse health event associated with the vaccine’.*

“Now their position is that significant adverse events have happened but there are not enough to worry about. Both the Ministry and Pete Hodgson have admitted this.

“Why didn't the Ministry and the Minister tell parents that in the first place? Is there anything else they're hiding?

“We know that 60 seizures have been reported and six children reported developing the serious blood disorder which an ACC haematologist has accepted is a result of the vaccination.

“This is an issue of informed consent, not the safety or otherwise of the vaccine.

“Parents rely on the assurances of the Ministry of Health. When we find that the authorities are sanitising the information they give us, that is when suspicion and mistrust will affect the vaccination programme.

“Health officials need to know that the next National-led Government will expect openness and respect for parents’ decision-making,” says Mr Ryall.


Attached: Parliamentary question 14439


14439 (2006) Published - Health - Normal Reply

Question: Does the Minister agree with the Ministry of Health Press Statement of 3 October 2006 that claimed that there was no evidence of any significant adverse health event associated with the MeNZB vaccine; if so, why?

Portfolio: Health

Minister: Hon Pete Hodgson

Date Lodged:13/10/2006

Answer Text: Yes, I agree that there is no evidence of any significant adverse health event associated with the MeNZB vaccine. This statement was made in a letter from the Independent Safety Monitoring Board to the Ministry of Health.

Attachment: None

Date Received:25/10/2006

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