> so they aren't even real numbers ross
You really are a pathetic cretin. Why don't you take up a new hobby, like self-immolation.
Russell wrote: "I think the MoH played down the possibility of adverse reactions more than was wise. Our older boy was knocked sideways by every shot - the sickest he's been in his life".
Sorry to hear that.
Back in 2003, a Norwegian professor of pediatrics claimed that there were serious negative effects from a similar vaccine that was never introduced in Norway but which was trialled there. He advised officials here. It doesn't seem as though his concerns were taken seriously, especially since the necessary trials were not conducted with the MeNZB vaccine (most of the trials - and there were few - involved the Norwegian vaccine, not the one that was rolled out).
Parents should have been given all the available information on the vaccine. That's what informed consent is about. It's obvious they were kept in the dark.
> Uh, where did anyone say 2 actual deaths and MoH 7.
The MOH said it. I presume you're outraged (even mock outrage will do).
As for your "critique", and I use the word loosely, I have no idea where you obtained your figures. My figures come from the MOH, Dr Diana Martin who works at ESR, and from the official reports into the disease that are published each year.
In 2004, 4 people (across all age groups) died from the epidemic strain; in 2005, 6 people died fromthe epidemic strain. That's an absolute increase of 50%. Given the drop in the incidence of the disease, it is relatively easy to see how the death rate has increased by 150%. But you can argue with yourself on that point if you choose to.[What's interesting is the low number of deaths, which are for all age groups. For the under 20 age group, which is the focus of the vaccine, the number of deaths is even lower.]
In 2006, there were 161 cases (the offical report into the disease has yet to be published) of all strains of he disease. That constitutes an epidemic, maybe not to you or I, but according to the MOH. According to the ministry, only 3 cases per 100,000 are required for an epdiemic.
Between 2001 and rollout, total deaths for all age groups declined naturally by about 70 percent while case numbers dropped by about 50 percent. However, in a 7 July 2004 press statement, then Health Minister Annette King said, “The epidemic has shown no signs of abating.” I might say that she had a senior moment but, well, she's really not that old.
Amazingly, the MOH continues to refer to the dramatic fall in disease number since 2001, as if MeNZB vaccine is responsible for that fall. But that's impossible because the vaccine began to be rolled out in 2004, AFTER a massive fall in disease numbers and deaths.
You also said: "Herceptin only treats some types of breast cancer, and only helps a small portion of those (approx. 19)".
Alas, I was awaiting your analysis of the MeNZB vaccine. Who does that affect? Well, it has been given to more than one miilion NZers but will affect less than 100 of them. I'll let you work out the percentages because there are too many zeroes after the decimal point for my liking. Of course, the vaccine does not help those who catch other strains of the disease.
I conclude that since you apparently believe that the numbers don't stack up for the funding of Herceptin, the numbers nonethless look a helluva lot better than they do for the MeNZB vaccine. I'm sure you'll agree that the decision to spend more than $200 million on the vaccine was a gross misuse of taxpayers' money.
> Given the misinformation routinely produced by anti-vaccine lobbies.
Hmmm, so if the MOH says there have been seven deaths when there have only been two, that's "not commendable". Weasel words. It's actually bad science, unethical and bad policy. Oh, and a gross misuse of more than $200 million. But let's discuss Herceptin.
> Basically, it just sounds scarier when they put it that way.
Are you for real, Russell? Clearly, you think that 13 deaths is a laughing matter (unless of course a baton may have been involved and then it's deadly serious).
The debate about MeNZB is brought into sharp focus by Pharmac's decision not to fund the Herception drug. Ironically, the same reasons that Pharmac has used to deny women access to this drug are the same reasons that should have seen MeNZB axed. In fact, there may well be a stronger case for Herceptin than there was for MeNZB. The number of women who die from breast cancer far exceed the number of people who die from meningococcal disease.
In December 2006, the Ministry of Health claimed, "Overall, we used to have 213 epidemic strain cases a year in under-20s, now we see around a quarter of that. We used to have seven deaths a year. So far this year there have been two."
The fact is that the decline in the epidemic in under-20s (and other sub-groups) occurred well before the vaccine's rollout and has continued since.
The epidemic strain killed 2 only under-20s in 2003, the year before rollout began. There has apparently never been a year when there were seven deaths due to the epidemic strain of the disease in under-20s.
Figures for 2006 show that incidence of the disease continues to be at epidemic levels, depsite the stated goal of the MOH to wipe it out.
It's a real concern that the ministry has resorted to deliebrately falsifying information in order to justify the most expensive health initiative ever.
> The 150% claimed, is a relative rather than an absolute increase.
You're wrong. It is an absolute AND relative increase. As the writers make clear, there are 13 unexplained deaths. Although the number of cases has fallen, the number of deaths has increased, causing the large increase in the death rate. This has got nothing to do with margins of error. Whichever way you try to spin it, there has been a 150% increase in the rate of deaths and there has been an increase in the total number of actual deaths.
You've since referred to the C-strain. You may not be aware but when the MOH argued for the introduction of the MeNZB vaccine, it included figures from ALL strains of the disease. Surely it is bad science (and bad policy) to argue for vaccine, claiming we have an epidemic, on the basis of ALL strains. But since that was the methodology used, it seems entirely appropriate to measure the success of the vaccine using the same methodology.
> However, if it is accepted that there is little risk to the vaccine, and that the relative cost is low enough, then it's not ethically acceptable to do that.
What are you talking about the cost being relatively low? This has been the most expensive health initiative ever! As for risk, we don't know what the risk is, notwithstanding that Norway is currently conducting an inquiry into some serious adverse effects from an almost identical vaccine.
The epidemic was waning BEFORE the vaccine was rolled out. The death rate and the incidence had dropped dramatically. A quick search of the internet will give you the exact figures, but such was the fall in numbers that the expected reduction in deaths from the vaccine was simply impossible. The vaccine was given approval by Cabinet in the expectation that it would save dozens of kids' lives, but this was physically impossible given the small numbers dying from the disease at the time of roll out.
And since roll out...