Meningitis vaccines communications

OIA response

Response to a request for information about communications around the Northland meningitis outbreak.

19 November 2019

[name and contact details redacted]

Dear [name redacted]


Thank you for your request dated 2 October 2019 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to the Northland meningitis outbreaks.  You asked for copies of

All communications including briefings, reports, memos, aides memoirs, cabinet papers and texts regarding the decision paper containing information about the 30,000 Pfizer meningitis vaccines including the decision paper.

We wrote to you on 30 October 2019 advising that, because consultation with third parties would be necessary prior to release of documents, we would be extending the response date to 27 November. We have now had an opportunity to consider the feedback received.

We have interpreted your question to mean communications around the decision paper itself. This means that communications related to supply of the vaccines are not in scope.

Please find attached documents within scope of this query. [PDF, 3.3 MB] The documents also include a copy of the decision paper itself, which has already been released as part of another OIA request but is attached here for completeness.

PHARMAC approaches its assessment of requests for information under the OIA on the basis that, once released, the information becomes publicly available - in other words once we release the information to you it becomes available to any other party in that exact form (whether by you distributing it to others or by virtue of us receiving the same request from a different third party). 

We have redacted information from the documents where it is out of scope, or because we consider this is necessary to:

  • protect the privacy of natural persons (section 9(2)(a));
  • protect information where the making available of the information would be likely to unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied or who is the subject of the information (section 9(2)(b)(ii)); and
  • protect information which is subject to an obligation of confidence or which any person has been or could be compelled to provide under the authority of any enactment, where the making available of the information would be likely to prejudice the supply of similar information, or information from the same source, and it is in the public interest that such information should continue to be supplied (section 9(2)(ba)(i)).

As required under the OIA, we also considered whether, in the circumstances, the withholding of this information was outweighed by other considerations which render it desirable, in the public interest, to make this information available.  In this case we did not consider that the public interest outweighed the reasons for withholding the information.  Please note you have the right, by way of complaint under section 28(3) of the OIA to an Ombudsman, to seek an investigation and review of our decision.

We trust that this information answers your queries.  We are making our information more freely available, so we will now publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website.  Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this.

Yours sincerely

Alison Hill
Director, Engagement and Implementation