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Leftover swine flu vaccine to be used

7th January 2011

Swine flu vaccines left over from last year’s pandemic are being made available to GPs across the UK.

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England’s interim Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies has announced that an extra 12 million doses of swine flu vaccine are being made available to meet a surge in demand.

The Pandemrix vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline will be supplied to GPs who request it, though it only protects against swine flu, unlike the seasonal flu vaccine, which also protects against two other strains of the virus as well as swine flu.

Latest figures show that a further 11 people have died from flu, taking the total to 50.

However, cases of flu recorded by GPs this week dipped to 99 per 100,000 of the population after rising throughout December to 124 per 100,000 last week. Calls to NHS Direct also fell as experts suggest the peak of the outbreak was close.

Dame Sally said: “We may be nearing the peak. We have not got a crystal ball and we cannot be certain. The numbers in critical care are still rising but not on the same trajectory – it is much improved. It looks like the beginning of a plateau. Only next week will tell.”

Reports emerged from GPs in some parts of the country of a shortage of vaccines.

She acknowledged reports of a mismatch between vaccine supply and demand but added: “The data we have is there should be enough in the system. GPs who run out should get extra supplies from neighbouring practices of the primary care trust.”

 

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