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Friday, 26 November 1965

Mr SWARTZ (DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Health) - I made a statement on this matter last night. The measles epidemic in the Northern Territory has reached fairly serious proportions. It is amongst the Aboriginal population in Arnhem Land. We have diverted practically the whole of our medical resources in the Northern Territory to this area to deal with it. So far, the epidemic has been just contained. If it appears likely to continue, we will undertake a vaccination campaign. The reason why we have not yet undertaken vaccination in this area is that we are not certain of the effectiveness of the vaccine that is produced in the United States of America. Reports indicate that it is only partly effective. Under the present circumstances, it will be used by us only as a last resort. I can assure the honorable member that, if the epidemic continues, we will try everything possible to prevent further deaths and see that the best possible assistance is provided.

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