An open letter in the Northern Advocate today urges the Prime Minister to vaccinate the 20,000 Northland children who are currently ineligible for the Meningitis vaccine, Shane Reti, MP for Whangarei says.
“The cost to vaccinate all 20,000 ineligible children in Northland between 5-12 years of age is around $700,000. That’s the same cost as creating 35 metres of new road, or less than half a rugby field,” Dr Reti says.
“Hundreds of people have signed the petition started by Northland MP Matt King and I asking for the ineligible children to be included in the meningitis vaccine campaign.
“Many parents with ineligible children have contacted me who are desperate to have them vaccinated but they cannot afford the private cost of $110.
“I was also contacted by a parent who had one child who was eligible for the Meningitis vaccine and one child who was not. She said she could not choose which of her children could have a safer life and which child would not - so she vaccinated neither.
“This is a terrible position for parents to be in. The Government is choosing which children may be safe from Meningitis and which may not. It has argued there are not enough vaccines and that the expert group on the response didn’t recommend vaccinating 5-12 year olds. This is simply not true.
“As a GP, I can order dozens of vaccines right now and the expert group did suggest the option of vaccinating all Northland children under 20 years of age.
“The Prime Minister is in Northland and should front up to parents and explain why her Government has decided that their children will miss out on the Meningitis vaccine. Meningitis doesn’t ask their age.”
The open letter to the Prime Minister in the Northern Advocate today is available here.