Concern over supplies of children's flu vaccinations in Edinburgh and Lothian

GP surgeries were meant to receive supplies by last Friday

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 6:00 am
NHS Lothian says it has been prioritising 2-5 year-olds and 5-8 year-olds with underlying health problems.

HEALTH bosses in Lothian are under pressure to sort out problems over distribution of flu vaccines for children after some surgeries were apparently left without promised supplies.

Deliveries of the nasal spray Fluenz Tetra were delayed throughout the UK because of issues with routine testing by the manufacturers.

But last week, NHS Lothian said it had received new supplies.

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In an email, it told Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs: “NHS Lothian have now acquired sufficient stocks to enable General Practices to vaccinate all pre-school children and I understand that stocks will be with your GP by Friday November 8 at the latest.”

However, at least one surgery is said to have told parents this week it did not have the vaccines.

John McLellan, Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston, said he had been contacted by the mother of a two-year-old girl very worried about not being able to get her daughter vaccinated against flu.

“She was told by her GP practice they did have any vaccines and they didn’t know when they would be getting them,” he said.

“NHS Lothian issued information last Wednesday that all surgeries would have them by last Friday. That’s clearly not the case.

“It’s very concerning if NHS Lothian is saying these vaccines have been distributed and surgeries are saying the opposite.

“There needs to be an explanation and NHS Lothian needs to act immediately to ensure all surgeries definitely do have the vaccines. There are a lot of worried parents out there.”

Mr Briggs said: “It is concerning that we find ourselves in a situation where parents are not able to get a flu vaccination for their children.”

Alison McCallum, NHS Lothian’s director of public health, said during the UK-wide shortage of supplies they had been prioritising vaccines for children aged 2-5 and those aged 5-18 years with underlying health conditions.

She said some school vaccination sessions had been rescheduled but the full school vaccination programme would be completed.

“We have already completed sessions in over 142 schools. By November 22 this figure will have increased to 179 schools – 70 per cent of all primary schools in Edinburgh and the Lothians.”

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