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MPs told Meningitis vaccines were always available

Pfizer officials appearing before the Health Select Committee yesterday revealed that 30,000 Meningitis vaccines were available to PHARMAC during the recent outbreak in Northland, National MP for Whangarei and Associate Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Pfizer offered 30,000 vaccines to PHARMAC who didn’t even get back to them until weeks after a campaign had been signed off to only vaccinate children aged between 9 months and 4 years, and 13 to 19-year-olds.

“The limited vaccination campaign in Northland was an attempt to save money – but these vaccines will expire shortly so they need to be used.

“Dr Clark and PHARMAC had a moral and clinical obligation to tell officials and make the vaccines available. Instead, they engaged in penny-pinching at the expense of vulnerable Kiwi kids.

“My colleague Matt King, MP for Northland, and I brought a petition on behalf of Northland residents to address this injustice.

“The vaccines were available then and they’re available now. If they don’t get used, they’ll go to waste. Why won’t the Minister let us vaccinate more Northland kids?

“The Meningitis outbreak has now affected five Northland children, including a 7-month-old baby.

“The Government has a moral obligation to immediately release the remaining vaccines to all Northland children under the age of 20, to ensure that they are protected from the devastating effects of Meningitis W.”

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