Fake vaccine 'scarcity'  The Media Winter 2010 flu vaccine drive  Headlines

[This is flu vaccine selling ploy called: Fake vaccine 'scarcity'.  As the comment at the end of the article shows: ‘The vaccine manufacturers/suppliers still have stocks available for ordering.’  With eye scan technology they have shown most people only read the headlines and few get to the end of articles.  All they will get is the idea flu vaccine is running out so get down to the surgery before it does.  Also most people buying newspapers will see the Mail headline.  How long does it take to deliver flu vaccine, even assuming they were actually out?]

Now GPs run out of flu vaccine: Pregnant women and elderly turned away from surgeries and told to get jab at Tesco

By Sophie Borland
Last updated at 11:05 PM on 31st December 2010

Doctors have run out of flu jabs amid one of the worst outbreaks of the illness in more than a decade.

Many surgeries failed to order sufficient doses earlier this winter and some admit they have no idea when extra supplies will arrive.

Pregnant women, the elderly and those with chronic illnesses such as asthma and diabetes are being refused appointments or told to call back in a few weeks. Doctors have been urging these high-risk cases to come in for jabs.

Out of stock: Doctors have admitted that they failed to order enough supplies of the flu vaccine

Out of stock: Doctors have admitted that they failed to order enough supplies of the flu vaccine

Some patients are being told to pick up vaccines at Tesco or pharmacies that have supplies before having them administered at surgeries. So far 39 people have died from flu, the vast majority with the swine-flu strain, and infection rates among the under-fives are the highest in years.

Half the country’s intensive care beds have been given over to the 738 flu patients fighting for their lives.

Many critical units are full and some dangerously-ill patients are being transferred to hospitals more than 40 miles away. Trusts have cancelled vital cancer operations and heart surgery to ensure life-support machines are kept free.

The shortage of jabs raises the possibility that many more people will need hospital treatment in the coming weeks.

Demand for vaccine is expected to intensify today when the national flu awareness campaign is reinstated to help prevent the spread of infection.

Anthony Jones
Natalie Hill

Victims: Anthony Jones, 38, from Skelmersdale, and Natalie Hill, 17, from Hull, are two of the 39 victims claimed by the swine flu virus this year

Geoff Martin, of the NHS pressure group London Health Emergency, said the situation was ridiculous.

‘The Government have just launched their flu awareness campaign and now there is a vaccine shortage,’ he added.

‘Clearly there has been a complete lack of planning as is always the case whenever the country faces any sort of crisis.’

Mothers trying to get the jab for their very young children before they return to school next week are also being told there are no vaccines.

The Government has decided not to give the jabs to the under-5s on the NHS – even though they are hardest hit by this year’s outbreak. Some parents have responded by paying privately.


One elderly patient was told by Waterside Medical Practice near Portsmouth that they had no vaccine left at the surgery for her 72-year-old husband but that she could collect some on prescription from Tesco.

However the pharmacy at their nearest branch of the supermarket chain had run out and he has still not had the jab four weeks later.

Latest figures show that significantly fewer people have been vaccinated against flu compared with previous years – and critics say the shortages are to blame.

Just 43 per cent of those in at-risk groups under the age of 65 – a category that includes pregnant women – have had the jab, 20 per cent fewer than last year.

Siobhan Freeguard of the Netmums website said: ‘Members have been coming forward expressing their frustration that they cannot get the jab.

‘Pregnant women are being made aware of the danger of swine flu in the media and not being able to get the vaccine is adding to their angst and anxiety.

‘Doctors and midwives will probably be just as frustrated as they have been urging pregnant women to get the jab and now they can’t.’

Tragic: Julie Ellison, 31, died along with her baby during childbirth after she had been admitted to hospital with suspected swine flu

Tragic: Julie Ellison, 31, died along with her baby during childbirth after she had been admitted to hospital with suspected swine flu

Katherine Murphy of the Patients Association said: ‘On the one hand the Government is telling high-risk people to go and see their GP and get a vaccine

‘But when they try to make an appointment they are told there are no vaccines left.

‘This is extremely contradictory. A lot of high-risk people are not getting the vaccines and we would have expected surgeries and the Department of Health to have planned for this sort of situation.’

Although there is not thought to be a national shortage of flu vaccines, many individual GP surgeries have run out of stock because they did not order enough supplies earlier this winter.

One mother, a hospital worker who has two young children with long-term health conditions, was told by her surgery that they had ‘no idea’ when they would have more jabs.

She posted a message on Netmums saying: ‘I had my two children aged four years and 17 months booked in for the flu jabs earlier this week. Both were unwell so I had to postpone and was told to call back today to rearrange.

'I called in today to book new appointments to be told they had run out of vaccines and didn’t have any idea when they would be receiving any more.’

Pregnant women have also been posting messages on the Mumsnet website saying they have been unable to get hold of the jab.

Experts warn that Britain is now on course for a full-scale flu epidemic, which is classified as more than 200 cases per 100,000 people.

The latest figures from the Royal College of General Practitioners show that there are 124 cases per 100,000, a rise of 40 per cent in the past week.

A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘GPs have already been asked to check their stocks. If they have run out, they have already been advised to work with neighbouring practices or the PCT to obtain further supplies.

‘The vaccine manufacturers/suppliers still have stocks available for ordering.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1343155/Now-GPs-run-flu-vaccine-Pregnant-women-elderly-turned-away-surgeries-told-jab-Tesco.html#ixzz19mWavkbU