Shortages of vaccines in the NHS are partly down to people who are healthy buying flu jabs from pharmacies, according to Dr Clare Gerada, chairman of the Royal College of GPs.
A total of 50 people have died in England during the winter outbreak, with hundreds in hospital, and GPs across the country reportedly running out of stocks of the vaccine.
Dr Gerada said: “People who are not in the at-risk groups are getting (private) vaccinations, leaving less supply for us. If that’s going to happen again, then the Government needs to stop it and think because that will affect the delicate balance that we have.”
She called for a study into how many healthy people had privately purchased the jab to gauge whether there should be a law banning the practice.
A Department of Health spokesman said: “Community pharmacies are working with GPs to ensure that at-risk groups are vaccinated, as far as is possible, with limited remaining stock. Pharmacies are private businesses and we are not able to prevent them from selling the vaccine commercially.”
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