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Ministry of Health apologises after blunder uncovered in flu vaccine report, angering doctors

The Ministry of Health has been forced to apologise after an error in its flu vaccine report left doctors up in arms.

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The Royal College of GPs requested the report be withdrawn and corrected. Source: 1 NEWS

1 NEWS can reveal the Royal College of GPs requested the report be withdrawn and corrected, saying the mistake was "damaging and unacceptable" and would not have happened had more doctors been consulted.

The report was tasked with getting to the bottom of problems with the flu vaccine rollout but it turns out, the Ministry of Health's report isn't without problems either.

"The error that's been shown makes a mockery of the study," GP Dr Geoff Cunningham says.

It wrongly stated GPs couldn't vaccinate because they were closed during Covid-19 lockdown and doctors felt it suggested practices weren't handing out vaccines.

"It's on the public record and it gave the wrong perception of what happened over lockdown," the Royal NZ College of GPs' Dr Bryan Betty says.

1 NEWS has seen a blistering letter by The Royal College of GPS sent to the Health Ministry asking for an “immediate retraction and correction”, saying the “inaccurate” statement is “alarming”, “damaging” and “unacceptable”.

“We were the coalface of vaccination. We were the people having the major problems with vaccinating patients, with not having access. We were seeing first hand issues with supply and distribution. It was a nightmare for us,” Dr Cunningham said.

The Health Ministry’s apologised and put a correction up online, a week after the issue was first raised by the College and less than 24 hours 1 NEWS made inquiries.

But the document itself remains up, unchanged, and incorrect.