Flu vac­cine de­lay is putting thou­sands of chil­dren at risk

Scottish Daily Mail - - Forever Autumn ... - By Izzy Fer­ris and So­phie Bor­land

‘Keep in con­tact with clin­ics’

THOU­SANDS of chil­dren have not had their flu vac­cine be­cause a drug firm has failed to sup­ply it.

All chil­dren aged be­tween two and 11 are el­i­gi­ble for a free nasal spray in­oc­u­la­tion but GP surg­eries and phar­ma­cies across the coun­try have been un­able to get hold of it.

Re­lease of the Fluenz Te­tra vac­cine was de­layed be­cause of a prob­lem with the test­ing process.

Some preg­nant women and adults with un­der­ly­ing health prob­lems have also had prob­lems get­ting a flu jab this year, due to a sep­a­rate is­sue. It means many are not yet pro­tected against the po­ten­tially serious ill­ness. Health bosses say chil­dren with med­i­cal con­di­tions are be­ing pri­ori­tised and are con­fi­dent the is­sue will be re­solved by the end of Novem­ber.

But there are con­cerns that the de­lays will put peo­ple off get­ting the vac­ci­na­tion once it is avail­able. It comes af­ter the Daily Mail launched a cam­paign to boost the up­take of child­hood jabs.

Trusts and GP surg­eries across the coun­try have warned pa­tients that they are still wait­ing for sup­plies of the vac­cine for young chil­dren. Both the Welsh and Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment have also is­sued state­ments say­ing that they were aware of short­ages of the drug, made by phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany As­traZeneca, and were working to en­sure min­i­mum dis­rup­tion.

Dr Jon Roberts, of Pub­lic Health Eng­land South West, said: ‘The qual­ity as­sur­ance test did not have a valid re­sult so they have to re­peat those tests, re­sult­ing in a slight de­lay.’

There are dif­fer­ent types of flu vac­ci­na­tion avail­able to pa­tients across the UK.

Chil­dren are of­fered a vac­cine given as a nasal spray and adults in Scot­land are given ei­ther an in­jectable Triva­lent vac­cine – which cov­ers three strains – or an in­jectable Quadri­va­lent vac­cine, which cov­ers four strains.

It is un­der­stood that some peo­ple have been un­able to get the Quadri­va­lent jab be­cause the WHO de­layed a de­ci­sion on which strains to in­clude.

Scot­land’s Deputy Chief Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer, Dr Gregor Smith said: ‘The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment is aware there is likely to be a de­lay in the sup­ply of a pro­por­tion of the Fluenz Te­tra chil­dren’s vac­cine which is pro­cured by Pub­lic Health Eng­land on be­half of all of the UK.

‘The school vac­ci­na­tion pro­gramme is cur­rently con­tin­u­ing as nor­mal. How­ever, should there be the ex­pected dis­rup­tion to sup­ply, it could lead to vac­ci­na­tions in some pri­mary schools be­ing resched­uled.’

In a state­ment, As­traZeneca said: ‘As­traZeneca con­firms there will be a de­lay in the planned re­lease and de­liv­ery of a por­tion of our Fluenz Te­tra doses in the UK for the 2019-2020 sea­son.’

How­ever, the com­pany in­sisted that the de­lay was ‘not re­lated to the prod­uct’s safety or ef­fi­cacy, nor is the de­lay re­lated to the po­ten­tial EU-Exit’.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.