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Demand a supply

Roll down those sleeves and cover up those buttocks: the current pandemic of unavailability/stock shortages/supply problems/mystery disappearances involving our favourite prescribed drugs has recently infected vaccines, too. So if you thought it was fun prescribing, say, your favourite contraceptive pill after a torturous and tortured half hour exploring the options, only for the local pharmacy to tell you, another half hour later, that it isn’t available, imagine how much you’re going to enjoy running an efficient vaccine service when you don’t have any, er, vaccines.

Because, according to my practice nurses, we currently can’t get hold of any yellow fever, typhoid or MMR vaccines – and the new shingles vaccine may be teetering on the brink of some supply Black Hole only a few weeks after its Big Bang, too. And that’s before we get into the inevitable annual shenanigans involving the flu jab/spray.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, our sodding vaccine fridge shuffled off this mortal coil, or at least, off its fan-assisted condenser one. Result? A whole heap of ruined vaccine, and even I’m not mercenary enough to go ahead and use it anyway, particularly when my partners won’t let me.

And the response when we phoned up to place an urgent order for a new vaccine fridge? Yep: there’s a supply problem.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can email him at and follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield.