Plea to health secretary to get flu jab replacements after surgery’s stock is ruined
PUBLISHED: 10:59 07 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:37 07 October 2020
The issue of spoiled flu vaccines at a north Norfolk surgery has been raised with health secretary Matt Hancock in the hope replacements can be found.
North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker said he had been in talks with Mr Hancock after learning of the incident at Aldborough Surgery, near Aylsham, in which flu jabs intended for over-65s were ruined because of a 41-hour power cut during the storms of the September 26 weekend.
Mr Baker said: “I deeply hope we can get some stocks because there has been a huge rise in the number of people looking for vaccines this year.
“North Norfolk has an elderly and vulnerable population so it is so important that we get these vaccines. [Mr Hancock’s] special advisor is looking into it. We are a special case in our community and we need to be looked after and he knows that.”
Mr Baker said he had been in touch with the surgery daily, and he understood that 740 vaccines - most of the practice’s stock - had been spoiled.
A statement on the practice’s website on Monday said: “The flu clinic arranged for the October 10 and any other flu vaccine appointments have been cancelled.”
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But Alex Reid, practice manager, told this newspaper on Wednesday that some vaccinations were still going ahead.
She said: “All patients affected have been advised to seek a flu vaccination from their local pharmacy.
“Other flu clinics at the practice are unaffected, so patients should attend for their flu vaccination appointments unless they have been told otherwise.”
The vaccines were being kept at the practice in specialist medical fridges at specific temperatures.
Ms Reid added: “Failure to store flu vaccines correctly can lead to the vaccine being ineffective or worse, putting patients at risk. Due to the power being off a significant time, a specific batch of vaccines has become unusable.”
Around 30 million people in the UK are eligible for a free flu jab before the coming winter - the highest number on record - including all children between age two and Year 7, and everyone aged 65 and over.
Research from Public Health England suggests the risk of death is more than doubled for people who tested positive for both flu and Covid-19, compared to those with Covid-19 alone.
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