Minister's Claims Bizarre
Monday, 14 April 2008, 3:27 PM
Press Release: Ron Law

Minister's Claims Bizarre

Ron Law Risk & Policy Analyst

"The Minister of Health's claims that the
effectiveness of the MeNZB campaign 'had been
such a success' are bizarre and at odds with
available facts," says independent Risk & Policy Analyst, Ron Law.

The decline in meningococcal disease cases was
well in hand before the contentious vaccine was
released, and has continued unabated. The number
of total deaths has not declined since the vaccine was rolled out

Already this year two vaccinated infants have
died; from data made available by the minister no
unvaccinated children have died from
meningococcal disease since the MeNZB rollout --
only children given the MeNZB vaccine have died.
The vaccine has had zero impact on cases in
babies and may have reduced the natural decline
that was already occurring. (see graph) It is
also very poor form for the Minister to now be
quoting only confirmed epidemic strain data when
all cases (confirmed and unconfirmed) in all age
groups were used to con the Cabinet into wasting
$250+ million dollars on this unfortunate
experiment. It is also worth noting recent
challenges to the Ministry of Health's lack of
candour regarding release of objective data as
well as the questioning of the actual
effectiveness of the MeNZB vaccine. The principal
researcher. has recently doubted the reliability
of the effectiveness estimates quoted by the
Ministry of Health. Professor Lennon has also
stated in the New Zealand Medical journal "Thus,
since late 2005, in the highest risk areas where
the immunisation programme began (northern New
Zealand), most children are likely not to have
had antibody protection against the New Zealand
meningococcal epidemic strain. Despite this, the
decay of the epidemic continues. In addition, it
is well documented that serogroup B meningococcal
epidemics naturally decay over 10�15 years."
The Minister concludes his press release with a
quote straight from Wyeth Pharmaceutical's PR
manual by making the equally bizarre claim that
Pneumococcal disease is now having a greater
impact on the community. The challenge for the
new Minister is for him to come clean and release
all of the data that the Ministry of Health holds
on meningococcal disease in New Zealand so that
the medical and research communities and ordinary
mums and dads can see for themselves whether the
Ministry of Health has manipulated the data. ENDS