Healthy patients should wait for flu vaccine, says RCGP chair

Healthy patients wanting the flu jab should wait until at-risk patients have been vaccinated to avoid a repeat of the vaccine shortages seen this winter, according to RCGP chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada.

Shortages of the seasonal flu vaccine in some general practices have prompted a debate on how supplies should be managed.

Dr Gerada told the Daily Telegraph the government should intervene to stop healthy patients using pharmacies' supply of vaccine that could otherwise have been used to vaccinate at-risk patients when surgeries run out.

She later denied calling for a ban on such use among healthy patients, but claimed they should wait until those most vulnerable had been vaccinated.

She told the BBC: ‘I'm not necessarily suggesting it should be banned but what I think we should be doing in any public health campaign, of course, is we should be targeting those most at need and those that aren't in the risk group should wait for those who are in the risk groups to get what they require to prevent them becoming seriously ill.’

Last week the DoH released its 12.7 million-dose stockpile of GSK pandemic vaccine Pandemrix available to GPs and PCTs to counter the local shortages of seasonal vaccine.

50 people in the UK have died after contracting flu and 783 flu patients remain in critical care in England.

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