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Coleman welcomes wider access to vaccines

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, Minister of Health – Media Statement

28 July 2016

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has today welcomed Pharmac’s decision to widen access to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and varicella (chickenpox) vaccinations.

“In Budget 2016 the Government invested an extra $124 million over four years to enable Pharmac to further increase access to new medicines, benefiting more New Zealanders,” says Dr Coleman.

“The Government’s extra investment gives Pharmac more options on new medicines it can fund. It’s up to Pharmac to make these decisions.

“Following consultation Pharmac has decided to widen access to the HPV vaccine. From 1 January 2017 the vaccine will be available to both male and females aged 26 years and under.

“The vaccine will be changed from a vaccine that protects against four HPV serotypes (Gardasil) to one that covers nine (Gardasil 9). The change increases protection against cervical cancer from 70 per cent to 90 per cent.

“These changes will mean the number of doses required for 14 year olds and under will be reduced from three to just two.

“Pharmac will also fund one dose of the varicella vaccine for all 15 month olds from 1 July 2017. Eleven year olds who haven’t been exposed to chickenpox and have not been vaccinated will also be eligible.

“As a result of these changes, an extra 100,000 New Zealanders are expected to be immunised against these potentially serious illnesses.

“Widening access to these vaccinations will make a considerable difference to the lives of many young New Zealanders and their families.”

This is the second package Pharmac has announced following Budget 2016. It recently confirmed funding for two new hepatitis C medicines and a treatment for advanced melanoma.

Media contact: Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129                         

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