National accuses Government of misleading Northlanders over lack of Meningococcal vaccines

National is accusing the Government of misleading Northlanders about why only some children were vaccinated during the recent Meningococcal outbreak.

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MP Shane Reti says authorities led the public to believe there weren’t enough vaccines available but it’s now emerged there were. Source: 1 NEWS

MP Shane Reti says authorities led the public to believe there weren't enough vaccines available and it's now emerged there were.

An outbreak of deadly Meningococcal disease saw Northland families queue for hours to have their children vaccinated.

But only under five-year-olds and teenagers got the government funded jab - a shortage of vaccines one of the reasons given.

But 1 NEWS can reveal there was enough supplies of the vaccine available to cover all children in the region.

At the start of November, Pharmac was told the manufacturer could supply an extra 33,000 vaccines immediately.

But the health ministry says it's not that simple.

"We didn't use the international shortage as a reason not to vaccinate all under 20s," says Ashley Bloomfield Director-General of Health. He says there were a number of factors.

"There had at that time been three cases elsewhere in the country and we needed to make sure we were keeping our options open,” he said.

But National says the Government simply didn't want to stump up for the extra vaccines.

“Be honest, say that's the reason," Mr Reti said. "Don't say there's not enough vaccines. Go out there and say you didn't want to pay for it."

Health Minister David Clark said in a statement he only became aware of the extra vaccines last month, but he's backing his Ministry saying they acted on expert advice.

The outbreak in Northland is over with just one case this year - a child too young to be vaccinated.

But with the worst of winter to come. Families are urged to remain vigilant.