Government still playing catch up on Measles

Press Release – New Zealand National Party

Now the Measles outbreak is mostly over the Government has cynically announced a Measles catch up campaign, National’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s watch this Government declined a request from our largest DHB (Auckland) for a Measles catch up campaign in 2017 and more recently said no again right in the middle of last years’ outbreak.

“For Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter to offer vaccines now when there was a shortage last year is laughable. There had already been nine Measles outbreaks across New Zealand months before Minister Genter activated the National Health Co-ordination Centre in August. The Minister also tried to hide the letter the WHO sent warning New Zealand in April about a Measles outbreak.

“The US Centre for Disease Control confirmed in October that New Zealand had exported Measles to the US at twice the rate of Pakistan, India and Cambodia.

“Julie Anne Genter’s incompetence is further demonstrated by the fact 30-50 year olds are still not being offered vaccines and Pharmacists took months to be allowed to vaccinate.

“Given the vaccines don’t arrive until April, it looks as though the timing is to distract from reports over the weekend confirming New Zealand exported Measles to other countries, including Samoa.

“Minister Genter has repeatedly claimed there wasn’t a shortage of Measles vaccines, however DHBs have recently come forward and showed that there was.

“Any activity that sensibly improves vaccination rates is a good thing but timing is everything and this Government has missed the boat on this outbreak.”

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