Swine flu jab delivery plans leave practices struggling

Many practices will have less than a month to vaccinate at-risk patients, although little or no notice is being given of when swine flu jabs will arrive.

Ian Dalton: DoH aims to vaccinate at-risk groups by mid-December
Ian Dalton: DoH aims to vaccinate at-risk groups by mid-December

Some practices will not receive vaccines until late November, the DoH has said. But last week Ian Dalton, director of flu resilience for England, said the DoH hoped patients in at-risk groups would be vaccinated by mid-December.

Practices contacted by GP had either no warning about when vaccines would be delivered or just two days' notice.

Swine flu vaccines were delivered to practices in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire last week. Nurse practitioner Deborah Simons, organising vaccinations at Stony Medical Centre, said the lack of warning meant it could be up to two weeks before the first clinics were under way.

Lynne Dancy, data and information manager at Central Milton Keynes Medical Centre, said her practice had two days' notice before jabs arrived.

But it had no news on when further deliveries would turn up, she said. The 500 doses received would only cover a sixth of at-risk patients, she added.

Last week Mr Dalton confirmed practices must decide which patients in priority groups receive the jabs first.

He defended the decision to supply all practices with 500 jabs. 'The alternative would be to give more vaccine upfront to bigger practices and it would then take weeks to get it out to the smaller practices,' he said.

'We took the view that we should get it out there to every single practice in the land and let the doctors decide who should have the vaccine.'

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