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Practice forced to cancel flu vaccinations for over 65s after power cut spoils stock

by Awil Mohamoud
12 October 2020

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A GP surgery in Norwich has had to cancel flu vaccinations for patients aged 65 and over, after 740 vaccines stored in its fridge were spoiled following a power cut in a storm.  

Aldborough Surgery said in a statement that it has tried to source additional vaccine stock from neighbouring practices and community pharmacies, but has so far been unable to secure any.

‘Due to the unprecedented demand for the flu vaccine this year, all of the existing flu clinics for the practice’s patients aged 65 and over will unfortunately have to be cancelled as a result,’ it said.

The practice is now urging patients to book a vaccination with community pharmacies ‘where possible’, while it continues to investigate ‘all avenues to procure additional supply’. 

The statement said: ‘Severe weather conditions on the weekend of the 26 September resulted in the surgery being without electric power for 41 hours. Therefore, the vaccines stored in the medical fridge were not stored at the correct temperature for a long period of time. It was confirmed by the manufacturer of the vaccines that the flu vaccines should not be used.

‘We have tried to source a further supply of flu vaccines, but sadly we were not able to secure any further stock.’

Local MP, Duncan Baker, said on Twitter (7 October) that the surgery was now ‘a priority’ for the additional vaccine supply secured by the Government and ‘patients will be rebooked as soon as this is available’. 

As part of this year’s expanded flu programme, the Government has agreed to procure over 8 million vaccines, which providers can access once their own stock is empty.

Last week (9 October), the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said practices will be able to place orders for the government-secured stock from mid-October.