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Gerada calls for halt in flu vaccination of ‘worried well’

By Ian Quinn

The RCGP has called for vaccination of the worried well against flu to be stopped until ‘at risk’ groups have been protected.

RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada today claimed people paying privately to have the vaccination were contributing to shortages in supplies of the vaccine.

The Daily Telegraph reported she had called for a ban on patients paying to receive the vaccination from pharmacies.

However, she later clarified her position, telling the BBC: ‘I’m not necessarily suggesting it should be banned but what I think we should be doing in any public health campaign, of course, is we should be targeting those most at need and those that aren’t in the risk group should wait for those who are in the risk groups to get what they require to prevent them becoming seriously ill.’

Dr Gerada’s intervention comes days after GPs were been told to raid their stocks of swine flu vaccine, and use any monovalent swine flu vaccine they have left over to vaccinate any eligible patients who have still not received the jab.

The Department of Health also made the 12.7m doses of the GSK vaccine Pandemrix, purchased during last year’s swine flu pandemic, available to try to tackle the crisis in supply.

The Department of Health said it could not prevent pharmacies from selling the vaccine commercially.

Dr Clare Gerada: ‘worried well’ vaccination should stop Dr Clare Gerada: ‘worried well’ vaccination should stop