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Last year’s flu jabs to cover regional shortages

7 January 2011

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Shortages in this year’s flu vaccination programme will be covered by stocks of last year’s swine flu jab, as the death toll from the virus continues to increase.

The Government has admitted that a mismatch has occurred in England, with some areas having too much season flu vaccine stock, while other regions have a shortage.

But it is keen to reassure people that there was enough stock to cover at-risk patients across the country.

It came as latest figures showed 11 more people have died from flu across the UK, taking the total number of deaths to 50 since the start of the flu season in October 2010.

Reports have suggested that some GP surgeries have been turning away angry patients due to the lack of vaccines.

But GPs, who order the vaccine based on estimates from previous years, are adamant they have not under-ordered.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, the interim chief medical officer for England, said leftover stocks of last year’s swine flu vaccine would be made available to surgeries which have run out of seasonal flu vaccine.

Some 12.7 million doses of GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix swine flu vaccine are still held centrally by the Government.

Prof Davies said: “We are hearing some stories of the (seasonal flu) vaccine being in one place and the patient being somewhere else.

“The message to the public is if they need the vaccine because they are in an at-risk group, they should come forward because we have it in the system.”

Copyright © Press Association 2011