National accuses Health Minister of changing story over Northland vaccines

National have accused the Health Minister of "once again changing his story" over Meningococcal W vaccines in Northland. 

MP Shane Reti on Sunday claimed authorities led the public to believe there were not enough vaccines available after an outbreak of deadly Meningococcal disease saw Northland families queue for hours to have their children vaccinated.

Only children under five years old and teenagers got the Government-funded jab - a shortage of vaccines one of the reasons given.

However, 1 NEWS revealed there was enough supplies of the vaccine available to cover all children in the region.

"David Clark first said the limited vaccinations were because of a global shortage, then he said he only found out last month that there were additional vaccines, and then he told media he was actually informed in November that additional vaccines were available," Dr Reti said. 

"The expert advisory group decided on the limited vaccination campaign on November 8. Pharmac was told the following day, after the experts met, that further vaccines could be sourced but the expert group was never reconvened and given that information."

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield has denied that a supposed shortage was a reason not to vaccinate everyone under 20 years old.

"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.

On TVNZ1's Q+A last night, the Health Minister was asked if he was misled by health officials regarding access to vaccinations and the number available.

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Dr Clark spoke about DHB and Pharmac funding, vaccinations and his view on cannabis, on June 18. Source: Q+A

"I don't believe so," he said.

Dr Clark said the advice medical experts gave was that there needed to be a targeted campaign because there was a limited number of people to deliver the inoculations. 

"The targeting was to stop the spread," he explained. "If you've only got a certain number of people who are able to deliver the vaccinations, you focus on the vectors, which are the teenagers...and those who are most affected, which is the young children.

"The advice was that we needed a targeted campaign, and that's what they delivered.

"By all accounts to date, it has been a very successful campaign, and I guess that is why it's important to rely on expert medical advice," Dr Clark said in the House today. 

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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