Vaccine shortage halts flu jab appointments

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FLU jabs at two Sheffield medical centres have been postponed until further notice because of a shortage of the vaccine used in injections.

Beighton and Sothall Health Centres have temporarily suspended their flu clinics, where injections are given to protect people from the virus, following a problem with the suppliers.

Crucell - a pharmaceutical company based in the Netherlands - has suspended all deliveries of its vaccine because of an ‘unexpected test result’.

The firm provides 10 per cent of the UK’s flu vaccines, which are given to pensioners, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, helping them fight a utumn flu strains.

It is not yet known when the injection programme will begin again in Beighton and Sothall. Patients are being told to call next week for further developments.

Local resident Jill Roberts, from the Beighton Welfare Club, said she was concerned people had not been told about the cancellations.

“A lot of old people have to rely on other people to take them to appointments so they need to know if they’ve been cancelled,” she said.

One diabetic patient who was due to have his jab at the Beighton centre said: “It’s quite concerning that the clinics have been cancelled.

“A lot of people didn’t find out the clinic had been cancelled until they turned up at the centre.

“But apparently it’s a fault at the manufacturer’s end so you can’t blame the health centre.”

Thousands of patients across the country have had their jabs cancelled.

A spokesman for Crucell said supplies had been halted ‘voluntarily’ because of safety concerns following an unexpected test result on one batch.

More tests are being conducted to investigate the cause before further batches of vaccine are released.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said GP practices were responsible for ordering their own vaccines.

“We are aware of some unexpected delays to one supplier’s deliveries of the flu vaccine and advise GP practices to contact alternative suppliers if they are having problems,” she added.