Vaccine shortage tells us what we already know

Reports that New Zealand is facing a temporary shortage of the flu vaccine amid the Covd-19 outbreak vindicates what I have known since April, National’s Health Spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“A leaked email given to media revealing that the vaccine for children under three is nearly all gone and won’t be available until later this month, marries with reports I was receiving about the lack of flu jabs in the country four-months ago. Even worse, last year when children’s flu vaccine was running out an OIA from PHARMAC shows big PHARMAC responded by increasing the price of the vaccine. We want to encourage flu vaccine not price kids out of the market.

“In April I specifically asked then Health Minister David Clark if there was going to be a shortage of flu vaccines from mid-March to mid-April this year and why provisions were not made for more vaccines sooner, only to be told there was a record number of flu vaccines issued this year.

“The former Minister of Health and his Ministry have obfuscated on this issue and now Kiwis face not getting the vaccine at a time when they need it most.

Not only can this government not manage supply but the 400,000 flu vaccines it has ordered are unused rejects from the northern hemisphere that only cover half this year’s flu strains.

“The New Zealand Medical Association rightly calls this situation a debacle. I agree with the NZMA when it says the issue with flu vaccines is a systems wide problem and the Ministry is incapable of distributing a coronavirus vaccine.

“Labour have failed to provide strong leadership to the Ministry.  They replaced one failed Minister with a caretaker.

Meningitis, Measles and Flu have shown this government to be hopeless with vaccinations. 

“National see that there is an urgent need to restore confidence amongst the medical profession.

“The public will be rightly concerned about what they have been told on other matters in face of this pandemic,” Dr Reti says.