HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 520: 14 July 2010

H1N1 Vaccine – Is it a Global Fraud?

Dear Editor
In response to the letter of Editor in today’s Cook Islands Herald, the Ministry of Health has worked tirelessly to develop a Deployment Plan to cover 100% of the Cook Islands population for H1N1 vaccination. After 4 Months of planning, we managed to secure funding from World Health Organization and also NZAID to ensure 100% of our Cook Islands population is immunized. Administration of vaccination began with Health Staff including Priority Groups namely Border Control Staff, Pregnant Mothers, Underlying Medical Conditions as these people are more at risk of contracting the Pandemic H1N1 virus. Then school students were vaccinated followed by the rest of the people on Rarotonga.
The Ministry of Health for a month has raised awareness for the deployment of H1N1 via the radio, television including Cook Islands Newspaper and also through the Maternal Child Health clinics around the island. At the end of July the program will extend to the Southern Group islands and in August 2010 the Northern Group islands
Panvax H1N1 vaccine is proven safe and has been manufactured in Australia from a company called CSL and licensed by the World Health Organization.
Ministry of Health would like to confirm that anybody who receives the vaccination is monitored for 20 minutes for any likely reaction to the vaccine before that person is released. Side effects includes redness or swelling at the injection site, headaches, fever, tiredness or muscle aches, on rare occasions an allergic reaction may occur. Side effects do not occur the next day. The Cook Islands Ministry of Health has continuously advised the public through our awareness programs and a fact sheet about full details on the Panvax H1N1 vaccine including side effects were distributed to the school students and made available to the rest of the population on request.
Outpatient Tupapa and Hospital confirmed there were no H1N1 vaccine reaction cases reported, however, those who visited the Outpatient and Hospital were advised that they had flu symptoms.
Before administering the vaccine, everyone is provided with consent forms to fill in meaning that no one is vaccinated without approval as speculated in the letter to the editor “ …that some children may have been forced into taking the vaccine without their parents consent” However, there was only one incident that happened in which a child was vaccinated without the parent’s consent’. We take full responsibility for this incident and would like to apologize to the parents and families of the child.
People may have read via the internet many articles and journals relating to the H1N1 vaccine with controversy issues and impact in countries of the world, however, the Ministry of Health is reassuring the people of the Cook Islands that the vaccine is safe to use. We are encouraging people to come and be vaccinated to protect you from H1N1. Up to today we have vaccinated over 1000 people on Rarotonga and we have had no reported death.
Once again the Ministry of Health will continue the vaccination program and urging the public to keep practicing proper hand washing and coughing etiquette at all times. For any queries please contact Public Health Office, Tupapa on phone 29110.
Meitaki Maata
H1N1 Team
ESR Unit
Ministry of Health

Cook Islands

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