Health Minister Tony Ryall has today announced Pharmac will take over managing the National Immunisation Schedule, including purchasing vaccines, from the Ministry of Health.
“Pharmac, which is already responsible for purchasing medications and some medical devices in New Zealand, will now also be responsible for purchasing vaccines,” said Mr Ryall. “The Ministry of Health will remain responsible for the overall immunisation programme.
“This decision means there is a more consistent and cost effective approach for purchasing medicines.
The National Immunisation Schedule includes 11 vaccines which are offered free to babies, children and adults to protect them from diseases including tetanus, hepatitis B, polio, measles and mumps.
“Pharmac will establish a committee of immunisation experts to provide advice on which vaccines to purchase which is intended to include members of the existing Immunisation Technical Forum.”
The contract with the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) to manage the storage and distribution of vaccines will continue.