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Highlands MSP says lessons need to be learned on flu vaccine delays

By Gavin Musgrove

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Scotland’s Shadow Minister for Health is writing to the flu vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca to understand what is behind the hold-up off supplies which has hit school children in the Highlands and Islands.

David Stewart MSP wants to avoid a repeat of delays in delivery of flu vaccines in the future.
David Stewart MSP wants to avoid a repeat of delays in delivery of flu vaccines in the future.

Thousands of children across the country are facing delays in receiving their flu vaccination at primary school.

Health boards are receiving fewer vaccines than needed due to a UK-wide shortage of the nasal spray Fluenz Tetra.

It is understood the delay is due to AstraZeneca needing to re-test some batches of the drug before shipping it to the UK.

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart said it is reassuring to know that health bosses are prioritising at-risk and younger children with existing dwindling supplies.

However, he feels it is important to fully understand what has caused this problem and to investigate what is being done to minimise the risk of it happening again.

Mr Stewart said: “Any delay to the school vaccination programme is a real worry. This could undo all the good work health boards have done over the years to persuade sceptics that vaccines are safe and important.

“I am writing to AstraZeneca because I would like to fully understand what is behind this hold-up off supplies. I will also contact the First Minister to ask what action is being taken to address this matter quickly and urgently.”

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