Health Minister David Clark has confirmed he knew at least a month ago that there were enough vaccines for all of the children in Northland following a deadly outbreak of Meningococcal W, Whangarei MP Dr Shane Reti says.
“The Prime Minister and the Health Minister repeatedly said that a global shortage meant that there weren’t enough vaccines to carry out a full vaccination programme following the outbreak which was declared in November, which is why children aged 5-12 weren’t vaccinated.
“It has now been revealed that PHARMAC knew it could secure an additional 30,000 vaccines as far back as 8th November last year. The Ministry of Health detailed the costs to vaccinate all children on November 22nd in a document that detailed five campaign vaccination options.
“Emails show that five options were discussed with David Clark for a vaccination programme and yet he signed off on a targeted campaign which excluded 5-12 year old’s.
“If the Minister knew last month, why did he sit on the lie and not correct the record? Why didn’t he ask his officials for an assurance that more vaccine couldn’t be secured? How could he and the Prime Minister say repeatedly that there weren’t enough vaccines when there were? Why didn’t PHARMAC and the Ministry of Health inform the Minister and Prime Mnister that more vaccines were available?
“The Director General of Health acknowledged yesterday when questioned that the additional vaccines were more expensive. How can you put a price on lives during an outbreak?
“I’ve received dozens of emails from angry Northland parents wanting to know why they were lied to about availability, they deserve answers. Especially given a seven month old baby went on to contract the disease.
“The Minister, the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Health and PHARMAC need to be honest with Northlanders about when they knew that more vaccines were available and why they weren’t purchased.”