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GPs 'over-ordering' vaccines

Some GPs in Northern Ireland have over-ordered supplies of the pneumococcal vaccine, creating shortages in parts of the country.

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety admitted there were distribution problems but insisted there was still enough of the vaccine to go around.

A spokesman said: 'We secured adequate supplies for all over-65s not previously immunised, but some GP practices and community pharmacies have over-ordered and this led to some initial problems with distribution.'

GPs in Northern Ireland are paid £5.50 for each patient over 65 years of age immunised with the pneumococcal vaccine, which is usually

given alongside the flu vaccine.

Dr Raymond Givan, a GP in Moneymore, Derry, said his surgery had gone without supplies of pneumococcal vaccine for up to two weeks at a time.

'We have run out for short spells. Patients will only come back if they want something, otherwise we won't get them back until next year when they have their flu jab,' he added.

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