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Warning over low level of swine flu vaccines

9 July 2009

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The chief executive of NHS Scotland has revealed it will be November 2010 before there is enough vaccine to protect everybody in Scotland against swine flu.

Writing to health boards across the country, Kevin Woods warned that current levels would not be enough to vaccinate everybody and that when the first vaccine stocks arrive in August the most “at risk” groups should be given the H1N1 drug first.

Dr Woods said that while a “significant proportion” of vaccine stocks could arrive before the end of this year, “according to current delivering estimates vaccine for 100% of the population could be received by November 2010”.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said that scientific advice would be used to identify the people most at risk from swine flu, such as people with underlying health conditions or the elderly.

But Tory health spokeswoman Mary Scanlon said there had been an “understanding” that there would be sufficient vaccine for all the population over the winter months and given that the H1N1 virus could mutate into something more serious, the situation was becoming a “real concern”.

Ms Scanlon said when stocks of the vaccine become available, people with asthma and diabetes should be prioritised, along with health workers.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

NHS Scotland