Julie Anne Genter needs to give the public clarity and certainty on when the next measles vaccines are arriving because Ministers and DHBs are not saying the same thing, National’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.
“It appears Ministers and DHBs are at odds over when these vaccines will arrive. The Auckland Regional Public Health Service has talked about ‘months’, but Ms Genter and Dr David Clark have repeatedly referred to ‘the coming weeks’.
“Yet young children who, according to the Minister, are a priority for vaccination, are having vaccination appointments postponed, and adults are being told they may have to wait until February 2020 to be vaccinated.
“The Government says this is incorrect. This confusion isn’t good enough.
“New Zealanders need certainty about when vaccine supplies will improve, and they need that certainty now.
“The Government has had multiple opportunities to be prepared, whether that was in January at the time of this year’s very first outbreak, or in April when the World Health Organisation contacted every nation in the Pacific to warn them of the risks posed from the resurgence of measles.
“Sixteen DHBs this year have had cases of measles linked to outbreaks, and the number of cases continues to mount.
“Ms Genter must immediately clarify when the next vaccines will be arriving and what steps she will take to allay the fears of Kiwis and safeguard their health in view of the numerous outbreaks that have swept the country.
“The spread of measles could have been managed earlier, and the signs were all there. The Government’s failure to order more vaccines sooner has imperilled the health of thousands of New Zealanders who can’t afford to wait for vaccines.”