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Flu jab delays spark concern

Fears rose today that vulnerable people could have to wait for their flu jab after the Government confirmed stocks would arrive late.
The delay has been caused due to a problem faced by manufacturers in growing a flu strain used in the vaccine, which has to be produced each year as a result of the virus .
The jab is usually given to high-risk groups first, including the over-65s, people with respiratory conditions like asthma, and those with chronic conditions like diabetes .
According to the Department of Health (DoH), there would only be a lag in production and not a long-term shortage. This would result in a few GP practices not getting sufficient vaccine for entitled patients.
“We informed GPs about the industry’s production difficulties at the earliest opportunity, so they could plan for any potential problems with the supply of the vaccine,” said Dr David Salisbury, the DoH’s head of immunisation. “The industry has produced enough vaccine for the UK, though some deliveries may be later than usual.”
The delivery of doses will be staggered but the Department of Health say all doses should be delivered by the end of December.
“People with diabetes are a high risk group when it comes to the flu and by not getting the flu jab, they will be open to the risk of developing complications,” said Amanda Ede, Diabetes UK Care Advisor.
“Diabetes UK urges everyone with the condition to have the flu jab to ensure they don’t become poorly this winter,” Amanda Eden said.

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