By Todd Muller
There have been multiple outbreaks of measles across the country and it has been confirmed New Zealand has now exported two cases to the United States.
Already there have been 59 confirmed cases of measles in the Bay of Plenty with 38 in the Western Bay alone. Of these 23 have been admitted to hospital.
It wasn’t long ago global vaccination programs reduced the number of deaths. This indecisive Government, which has known measles outbreaks have been sweeping the country for months, has been negligent and unacceptably slow to react to the measles outbreak and it is a sad fact that they let measles get out of control.
The warning signs were there but the Health Minister David Clark did nothing. I sincerely believe we need to protect our most vulnerable and this Government has been too slipshod in not ordering vaccines sooner.
Shortages are now forcing large numbers of New Zealanders to go unvaccinated and causing huge disparities in access to vaccines across the country.
It is worrying to any parent when a potentially fatal disease strikes the community. Measles is easily preventable if people can access the MMR vaccine. I believe our people should have access to a sound, robust, world-class health system which sets health targets.
If we are to get measles under control we need to distribute all of the vaccines currently available, authorise pharmacists to vaccinate for measles to improve access like National called for more than a month ago, and clarify when the 100,000 vaccines will arrive as well as reinstate the health targets this Government scrapped.