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Shortages of flu vaccines in some areas

6th January 2011

The government has acknowledged that there are shortages of flu vaccine in some parts of the UK.

Vaccination1

The admission of “local supply” problems from the Department of Health follows reports in recent days that patients have been turned away from GP surgeries because they had run out of vaccinations.

So far, 14 million doses have been delivered to GPs and until early December, with low uptake of the vaccination, it appeared there was enough to meet demand.

However, there has been a surge in demand following the rise in flu cases and some surgeries are struggling.

South London GP Dr Rosemary Leonard said: “There is a problem now with the vaccine supply. At the beginning of December there was loads of vaccine. Now there has been a rush on the vaccine and my surgery ran out.”

The government is urging manufacturers to seek additional supply from the continent at a time that 39 people had died and more than 700 were in critical care as a result of flu.

Shadow health secretary John Healey said: “This action is better late than never but will only add to the confusion over the government's handling of the swine flu outbreak.

“The health secretary has been slow to act at every stage and now his department is playing catch up.”

The Royal College of General Practitioners urged GPs to continue efforts to offer vaccinations to all at-risk patients.

The Scottish government said there were no supply issues with the seasonal flu vaccine in Scotland.

 

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