How is it that we are only now being told what the scientists knew from Phase I and II trials, which was that in the most vulnerable, MeNZB antibodies would last 7 months, if that?
Today, the New Zealand Herald presented two novel excuses from Diana Lennon. Not telling parents the truth wasn’t wilful, she said, as much as “the thrill of the chase”. The second excuse is a classic. Parents just want “simple messages” and the issues were complex. In 2004, people who said, amongst other complex things, that the epidemic had gone before the vaccine came, and the vaccine’s efficacy was unproven, were dismissed by the Ministry of Health. Parents were told these people were unqualified to talk, and were grossly misleading others. Without batting an eyelid, the medical profession then rolled out an aggressively emotional campaign which would become one of the most "intimidating" coercive, fact-free propaganda missions ever seen in this country. They were ably backed up with the likes of Charlotte Bisman’s father who accused anyone trying to inject some sanity into the debate as purveying "hate speech".
As the debate got more heated, anyone perceived as standing in the way of the aims and objectives of the campaign were labelled "menaces" by Dr Jane O’Hallahan.
Diana Lennon, finally admitted on Wednesday 23rd July, 2008, that they had known from before the vaccine campaign’s inception that: “In the youngest age group studied (6- to 8-month-old infants) only 27.5 per cent had ... antibody [levels] likely to protect, at 7 months after the third dose of vaccine."
Parents, constantly exposed to the Bisman road-show, (financed and managed by the Department of Health); the nauseating posters, and fliers filled with empty words, had no idea that their babies, vaccinated in July 2004, might have no antibodies by January 2005.
Not that they needed to worry, since 18 months after the vaccine was rolled out, Diana Lennon admitted she had had to abandon a study looking at how effective the vaccine was, because the disease had waned. The number had reduced so markedly by the time the vaccine was rolled out, that it was impossible to assess the vaccine’s impact after its introduction! Yet today, you are told the vaccine did its job. If the vaccine got rid of the epidemic, shouldn’t her study have been able to prove it?
Diana Lennon can’t have it both ways. Either the epidemic was gone, or a study proves the vaccine got rid of it.
According to Diana Lennon, it is unfair to judge the campaign with hindsight. She said, “It was not clear at the height of the epidemic, in 2000 and 2001, how long it would last without a vaccine.” Medical literature shows that meningitis B epidemics lasted 15 years. The epidemic started in 1991, and the vaccine was rolled out in 2004. The figures for New Zealand were tracking exactly as you would expect from the medical literature detailing previous epidemics.
Why then, did the medical profession tell everyone that OUR epidemic would last a total of 30 years? Simple. If parents thought the epidemic was nearly ended, they might not have lined up their children to be needled.
It is absolutely fair to judge the MeNZB campaign in hindsight. That judgment is no different now than it was in 2004. The MeNZB publicity was missing key facts, and loaded with emotion.
How is it that in 2006 and 2007, no deaths from meningitis b occurred in the 200,000 children, whose parents refused any MeNZB vaccination shots? The only deaths were in the 1,000,000 fully or partially vaccinated children. That alone should cause pause for thought. Someone should be asking why that is.
You would have thought that lessons about not telling the truth would have been learned from the mistakes made in the 1987 Menomune A campaign in Auckland. You would like to think that lessons about telling the truth will be learned from the MeNZB campaign in 2004.
Somehow I doubt it. I suspect that that the introduction of future vaccines will be similarly blighted, which means only one thing. So long New Zealanders disconnect their brains because an “expert” says something that scares them witless, they will be ripe for the pricking.