Government admits flu vaccines shortage

ITN News

by ITN News

  • About
  • Export
  • Add to

The Government has admitted some parts of England are short of flu vaccines and is considering bringing in more stocks from Europe.

Suppliers have been asked to contact their factories in Europe for a count of how many stocks of UK-licensed vaccine are available.

The Government has no central stockpile of seasonal flu vaccines, which are ordered every year by GPs and delivered to surgeries.

The Department of Health (DoH) issued a statement following reports of patients being unable to get jabs from their GP.

A spokeswoman insisted there was "no national shortage" but admitted some areas were experiencing "local supply issues".

It has also been asked for a count of the number of other (non-UK labelled) doses it has in Europe, which could be brought in subject to regulatory issues.

Millions of doses of seasonal flu vaccine are ordered by GPs in England every year.

According to the UK Vaccine Industry Group, 14.7 million doses have been delivered across the UK, with 4 per cent of those stocks going to private companies.

The DoH hopes local supply issues can be resolved through surgeries with too much vaccine offering it to others suffering shortages.

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.

Earlier, it emerged that more than 1,000 tributes have been paid on Facebook to a teenager who died of suspected swine flu.