7 °CTue, 20

Over 700 pensioners’ flu jabs are delayed

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lisa.gregg@thechronicle.uk.com

DOCTOR surgeries in the Moyle area have been forced to push back flu vaccination appointments for pensioners at risk of serious illness due to a lack of a new extra powerful flu vaccine.

The vaccinations, which would usually have been carried out in October, have been postponed until early November as they await the new 'Fluad' jab.

And a Ballymoney Family Practice (BFP) have informed patients over the age of 65 due to attend this Saturday's (October 20) flu clinic appointment that they “should NOT attend for their vaccine,” because the new “Fluad” jab hadn't arrived.

BFP Practise Manager Nuala Lamont said: “the practice does not currently have any stock to run with this clinic and we do not envisage having stock until at least November.”

According to the Public Health Agency the new drug is “expected to significantly boost effectiveness by improving the body’s immune response to the vaccine.”

A total of 743 patients over 65 had been sent letters to attend on Saturday October 20 (with normally 400 patients taking up the offer on the day).

Many practices across NI haven't received supplies of the new “Fluad” vaccine that the Public Health Agency (PHA) is responsible for rolling out.

Describing “Fluad” as “a new, more effective vaccine for people aged 65 years and over” a PHA spokesperson told the Chronicle: “As this is a new vaccine, delivery across the UK will be phased over the months of September, October and November.”

The statement acknowledged that GP surgeries “may have to adapt their flu clinic arrangements this year to take account of the staggered introduction” and that this, “may present some logistical issues,” but added that this was “the best available vaccine” for people aged over 65!”

For the full article see this week's Ballycastle Chronicle

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