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Minister Noncommittal About Gardasil

6 December 2006

Minister Noncommittal About Gardasil

The Minister of Health displayed a surprising lack of enthusiasm when asked about the possibility of adding Gardasil to the National Immunisation Programme before 2008 says New Zealand First’s health spokesperson, Barbara Stewart.

“Gardasil is a drug developed in Australia which protects against cervical cancer, pre-cancerous lesions and other diseases caused by human papillomavirus.

“The Australian Government has agreed to make it available free of charge for girls aged between 12 and 18 from April next year.

“In this country no lesser person than the Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre has advocated that the Government make the vaccine free to all girls of school age.

“A member of the Cancer Control Council has said that including the vaccine in the schedule offered a “unique window of opportunity” to address inequalities around cancer.

“In spite of this we look set to continue with a situation where the vaccine is available to the privileged few who can afford to pay $450 to get it from their family GP.

“Judging by his answers to parliamentary questions the Minister attaches more importance to screening for cancers that have developed rather than fast tracking investigation into a means of preventing them and at the same time protecting our children,” said Mrs Stewart.

ENDS

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