Posted on January 10th, 2011 No comments
It could be weeks before the Isle of Man receives an all-important delivery of seasonal flu vaccination.
In the meantime the government is relying on stocks of the old swine flu vaccine, 3000 doses of this were released last week.
But Health bosses insist there is no vaccine shortage on the island yet.
Dr Parameswaran Kishore from Public Health said: “We might not get new supplies in time so we’re using the swine flu vaccine to fill the gaps.”
Health officials have taken the action in the light of news across the British Isles which indicates that flu deaths figures have risen to more than 50.
Some island pharmacies have now run out of the seasonal flu vaccine.
Dr Kishore added: “There is a mis-match between supply and demand in some areas at the moment. Some places have it, others don’t- but there’s not an island-wide shortage. “The problem is that there may not be anymore vaccine coming for the next few weeks.”
The vaccine, know as Pandemrix, was stockpiled in 2009 but has a shelf life until the end of 2011.
It only protects against the swine flu strain, just one of three circulating this winter, but as swine flu is the dominant strain in circulation the government has said it is the best option available.
“The vaccine is particularly appropriate for pregnant women since their increased risk of complication is confined to the H1N1 virus and Pandmrix also provides protection for the newborn,” said Dr Kishore.
The remaining doses of the seasonal flu vaccine will continue to be available to the over 65s and other high risk groups.
This kind of scare over vaccine shortages is unheard of, as GPs initially struggled to persuade people to get the jab at all.
Surge in demand
Back in October we were telling people who were in the risk categories to make an appointment to get the vaccine,” continued Dr Kishore.
“Initially the uptake was very poor because no one took it seriously.
“Since the news that there has been flu related deaths, there has been a surge in demand.”
“It’s difficult to predict how long our supplies will last because it depends on uptake and how quickly we can get more vaccines,” added Dr Kishore.
The government are advising the public not to panic as the Health Protection Agency have predicted that the outbreak may have peaked and the number of cases are likely to plateau this week.
But the move to open up the stockpiles of the swine flu virus shows there is real concern about the supply problems.UK related, swine flu flu, flu pandemic, influenza, mexican flu, swine flu, swine flu birmingham, swine flu deaths, swine flu hotspots, swine flu kits, swine flu mask, swine flu masks, swine flu midlands, swine flu protection, swine flu symptoms, swine flu vaccine, swine flu virus, uk schools swine flu, uk swine flu, west midlands swine flu