September 7, 2017
For Immediate Release

Documents Show the Flu Shot Decision Was Made Without Cost Analysis, Consultation or Public Health Focus

Steve Kent, Health Critic for the Official Opposition, is calling on the ‎Ball government to apologize and reverse course in light of documentation just released by the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association showing the government made an abrupt policy change limiting physician-administered flu shots without consulting physicians, without a cost-benefit analysis and without taking into account the serious impact on public health.

‎”Access to Information documents show the Liberal government misrepresented the facts to justify their decision to reduce access to flu shots for patients who made appointments solely for this purpose. The facts show that they changed the policy, not to improve access to flu shots as they pretended, but to slash funding for this critical public health service in order to pay for another policy initiative,” said Kent.

“The Access to Information documents show they were not truthful about the rationale for the change. They did not consult with physicians beforehand and made rash assumptions in the absence of a cost-benefit analysis to back their assumptions up. They downplayed the impact on patient health of enacting a policy change that physicians say will lead to fewer people who need flu shots actually getting them. What are the impacts on local clinics and rural communities? The province’s physicians are very concerned that people at risk will fall through the cracks. Reduced immunization will leave many people vulnerable to severe illness, hospitalization or even death while costing our health system in significant ways that the government did not account for when they made this abrupt policy change.”

“It is shocking that, to do the right thing of extending the HPV vaccine to boys, the Liberals did the wrong thing to pay for it by cutting access to the flu vaccines for people who would otherwise have made appointments at their doctors’ offices. It is appalling that the Liberals misrepresented the facts on what they were doing, failed to consult with physicians, failed to collect the proper evidence and showed blatant disregard for the impact on public health,” said Kent.

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Media Contact:
Heather MacLean, Director of Operations and Communications
Office of the Official Opposition
(709) 729 6105, heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca