The NZ measles epidemic – where ignorance, middle class cancer privilege, poverty and an underfunded health system and media industry collide

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PM Jacinda Ardern rules out ‘no jab, no pay’ policy adopted in Australia

Jacinda Ardern is ruling out benefit cuts for New Zealanders who do not vaccinate their children, despite promising results in Australia. 

The Prime Minister confirmed on Tuesday she would not consider introducing legislation similar to Australia’s “no jab, no pay” policy announced by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2015.

The Australian Federal Government imposed immunisation requirements for access to payments under the family tax benefit scheme, effectively punishing those who refuse vaccinations. 

I like how we immediately knee-jerk some bullshit criminalisation regime whenever something happens, it’s like Kiwis are preprogrammed to scream, ‘why not punish them’ whenever any problem unfolds as if the punishment, threats of punishment and screaming about punishment will magically make the problem disappear.

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I can’t work out if it’s our juvenile culture, click bait mainstream media or the naked burning rage that resides deep inside white settler nation NZ that constantly wants to lash out at anything and anyone after 3 beers.

Threatening people with punishment for not vaccinating requires a state that will literally force its citizens to take injections, it’s hilarious that those who would cry nanny state first would cheer this second.

I think Kiwis just love to beat up on those more vulnerable than they perceive themselves to be without ever appreciating the irony of that.

Let’s be clear on one thing, our measles epidemic should be a National embarrassment. We have had as many measles cases as America does in a year, this is a humiliation of our public health system and an abject failure of the news media. It’s also a convergence of ignorance, middle class cancer privilege and poverty. Simply threatening beneficiaries with not paying welfare is a solution that could possibly make the whole situation worse.

Ignorance

Quarter of those who don’t vaccinate do so because of Anti-vaxx quack science. In a post-knowledge world, people no longer learn critical thought and peer reviewed structures to ensure scientific rigour, they just google it and hey presto some emotive Youtube clip trumps actual facts and social media’s hysteria algorithms do the rest.  Watching the anti-vaxxers desperately trying to excuse their ignorance with nit picking nonsense to prove their ludicrous assertions of links to autism and profit driven Pharmaceutical companies peddling death in a needle would be funny if the results weren’t so dangerous. The real twist is that many anti-vaxxers are middle class yoga mums who are the first to take the health high ground on any other issue. It is difficult not to feel anything other than contempt for this group, but we must remember they are the minority issue here.

Middle class cancer privilege

Labour pumped $60m into a new cancer programme because white middle class boomers who have the wealth to live healthy lives are consumed with avoiding cancer as much as they are with property renovations and school zoning issues. Disease that impacts the young, the poor and the brown don’t get jack shit because the young, the poor and the brown don’t vote like middle class boomers do. Measles like other poverty diseases simply don’t get the resources it deserves because the people it damages the most have the weakest voices to demand better health outcomes.

Poverty

The real issue here is poverty. 3/4 of those who don’t vaccinate come from poor communities and the ability to get immunisation is impacted by that poverty. It is the nature of this deep poverty and inequality that permeates throughout NZ that is the ultimate problem here, not hipster mummy bloggers. When you consider that we have 200 000 children living in poverty, the low rate of immunisation can’t be a surprise to anyone can it?

Underfunded health system

Ultimately the solution lies in our under funded health system. National obliterated Labour’s Health Boards and replaced them with 21 DHBs who have been underfunded ever since…

DHB deficit explodes to $423 million, more than double last year

A budget blow-out across District Health Boards has grown by a staggering $112 million, or 36 per cent, in a single month to more than double what it was the same time last year.

All but one of the country’s 20 DHBs were in the red for the 11 months to May, with their total deficit rising to $423 million, latest financial results from the Ministry of Health show.

At the same time in May 2018, the deficit was $204 million.

It’s now expected the total deficit by year end, in June, will be $508 million – compared with Treasury and Ministry forecasts of $390 million just months ago.

…the most recent report highlights how fractured public health has now become for the most vulnerable amongst us…

Time, cost of transport and ‘racism’ preventing access to New Zealand’s health sector

New Zealand’s health and disability system is described by a review as “complicated and very fragmented”, with “leadership lacking at all levels”. 

The Health and Disability System Review Panel released its interim report on Tuesday, highlighting several key areas preventing access to the sector’s services.  

Māori have “not been served well by the system”, the review found, while rural communities are facing “particular challenges and need solutions designed specifically for them”. 

…if we are not prepared to fully fund a public health system so that the health of the people is served equally and respectfully, then how can we be surprised when epidemics like this break out?

Underfunded media industry

Finally this epidemic is the fault of the underfunded media industry. Mainstream media take money from large pharmaceutical companies to focus on attacking Pharmac so their latest expensive cancer drug campaign can pressure the Government into funding it. What the media don’t do is dismantle anti-vaxxer conspiracies which in turn allows the spread of disinformation on social media.

Solutions

If we want to stop this measles epidemic, we need to acknowledge the impact of poverty in preventing immunisations, so free jabs need to be expanded via pop up vaccination booths in areas those communities congregate rather than just expecting those communities to come to them.

We need a far better funded public health service more focused on spending the health budget for the benefit of everyone, not just middle class boomers.

We need a media who are far more proactive in challenging conspiracies and debunking them rather than ignoring them or glossing over them because the journalist is only good at sourcing news stories from their twitter feed.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Top child killers worldwide.
    Pneumonia- 980,000
    Preterm Birth- 740,00
    Malaria 650,000
    Neonatal Encephalopathy- 640,000
    Diarrhoea- 540,000
    Conginatal Anomalies-530,000
    Newborn Sepsis- 370,000
    Protein/Energy Malnutrition-250,000
    Road Injuries- 220,000

    Measel deaths in US since 2000- 19

  2. …..Or is it simply a case of because the gumermint is paying for the vaccine means that it’s not important until some so called entitled urbanised champagne socialist wants to place the blame on WORKING TAX PAYING class citizens who rationally way up the pros and cons on vaccinations and in there own drab goody good two shoes way says yeah that’s a good idea it will benefit my kids as well as the rest of my community to get vaccinated and get it done without a song and dance and not make a shit for brains excuse that it’s the perceived Remuera yummy mummy icons that are holding the rest of the country to ransom for not vaccinating there cherubs.

  3. That’s gospel, a great addition to several on point contributions from Bryan Bruce lately.

    I wanted to comment on your observation on kiwis wanting to punish the “other”, though.
    You know what I’m going to say about:
    “I like how we immediately knee-jerk some bullshit criminalisation regime whenever something happens, it’s like Kiwis are preprogrammed to scream, ‘why not punish them’ whenever any problem unfolds as if the punishment, threats of punishment and screaming about punishment will magically make the problem disappear.“
    Yes, best represented by punishing law abiding gun owners for an Australian Terrorist.

    But this propensity to scream and punish the other has become far worse under the woke left.
    Pre programmed? Possibly yes.
    Its at a point where it looks suspiciously like a media campaign demonising the “other” appears around the time the government is pushing on an issue. (Notably “guns bad”, now “anti vaxers causing outbreak”)
    Note the same breathless articles often starting in RNZ , then newsroom then stuff.
    Watch for this pattern.
    This looks like dirty politics not done on other politicians, but citizens of this country.

  4. Instead of punishing people who fail to get their children vaccinated, why not pay a bonus once they have completed their vaccinations.
    Even if those who don’t need the money are paid it may cost less than having to treat the thousands who end up ill during an epidemic.

  5. Perhaps if the fact that here are now 1051 cases of the measles infection – 877 of which are in Auckland.

    Auckland is ground zero of immigration and satellite families operating.

    Perhaps the officials might like to actually stop measles by making tourists and people entering into NZ be immunised before they come here!

    That means that the current trend of overseas people having babies in NZ or taking babies and young children into and out of NZ on a myriad of visas, who can’t be immunised needs to be addressed as well as unimmunised adults.

    The publicity campaign so far only targets NZ local people and always a Pakeha babies as the ‘face of measles’ judging by the amount of measles in Auckland, this could be part of the problem, that is making things worse as they may not be targeting people coming into and out of NZ who are not immunised and carriers who came into the country and therefore their PC ness is part of the problem helping it spread through Auckland.

    Measles is steadily getting worse in NZ in the last few months, maybe they need to look at who and why people are getting affected and also instead of targeting WINZ, they target tourists and temporary residents and people visiting places with measles risks, who are not immunised and should be because they are the ones bringing the disease into NZ.

    Happening everywhere. Apparently they are making everyone migrating out of Venezuela be vaccinated to stop in spreading to surrounding countries.

    In NZ, like the CHCH massacre, our authorities only scold and blame the locals for measles spread, not target real sources of the disease entering NZ via incoming carriers or people visiting or temporarily living here.

    Nor is there any understanding of why people are getting less vaccinations here or it’s spread, there are a lot more reasons than the anti vaxers including being charged approx $150 at A&E in Auckland to get a measles check for a family, non government plunket which has to be just as focused on funding rather than primary health care and the failure of that model for baby care, very poor maternity care in NZ where Mothers are routinely pushed out of hospitals within hours of birthing ensuring a range of issues that can develop including post natal depression, the way the vaccine is administered aka multiple injections on the same day for infants to save money instead of having them more staggered. Apparently medical staff also encouraged the use of pamol after the vaccine for infants while then finding it may actually reduced the effectiveness of vaccines .

  6. I don’t usually object to your comments Martyn. But …. as a beneficiary who is among other things a breast cancer survivor – Should I sooner or later need one of the drugs that the Government may or may not fund in future, I will be depending on them as there is absolutely no way I could afford to pay for them. This would be a life or death matter for me, as it has been for the campaigners. I do agree that there are so many other health conditions which need increased funding. It should be a priority for this government, along with social housing, welfare etc (which also affect me directly)

  7. I don’t usually object to your comments Martyn. But …. as a beneficiary who is among other things a breast cancer survivor – Should I sooner or later need one of the drugs that the Government may or may not fund in future, I will be depending on them as there is absolutely no way I could afford to pay for them. This would be a life or death matter for me, as it has been for the campaigners. I do agree that there are so many other health conditions which need increased funding. It should be a priority for this government, along with social housing, welfare etc (which also affect me directly)

  8. “Disease that impacts the young, the poor and the brown don’t get jack shit because the young, the poor and the brown don’t vote like middle class boomers do.” I would like to see the figures backing up this assertion.
    A big chunk of the middle-class pays for private health insurance, which takes pressure off the public health system which allows poorer people to get greater access.
    Also, some of the diseases that are particularly prevalent among the poor cost as much to treat as the new wonder cancer drugs. Dialysis, for instance, epidemic in South Auckland, costs around $55,000 for a year of in-hospital treatment, which is about the same as, say, venetoclax for leukaemia, once Pharmac’s 50% discount is applied.
    Those cancer drugs won’t be rationed according to wealth, just as dialysis isn’t. Are you saying that a poor person with cancer shouldn’t get a life-saving drug? Your point of view is very hard to fathom.

    • DHB’s can’t afford to go into the same kind of deficit spending that the Crown does because DHB’s don’t print money, or have the ability to borrow money that the Cronw has.

      This also means that entitlement spending wise becomes a very heavy burden on DHB budgets.

      This expressed itself in how poo oozes out of hospital walls and ca car patient died because of long wait times due to lack of intensive care beds. All because DHBs couldn’t balance the National Party’s budget priorities.

      It’s not that easy actually…, Indonesia new UHC health system just ran into this exact same problem a few years back. Who knew that when you give poor people the ability to access healthcare, they actually use it?

      Bah. Politicians.

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