Aussie flu WARNING: Chemists running out of vaccines as DEADLY virus continues to spread

Aussie FluGETTY

Chemists are running low on supplies of the flu vaccine amid fears of an epidemic

People across the country were being turned away from high street pharmacies who said they had run out of stock.

On Thursday, 10 Boots branches across the Midlands, the South, South West and East of England, as well as Cumbria all had no jabs left but said shops would be resupplied.

Patients in at least six areas across the county said their local pharmacists had run out of stock, which resulted in wholesalers increasing their prices.

Patients in at least six areas reported visiting multiple chemists in search of the jab.

Some parts of south London saw young children urged to visit fire stations who had not been vaccinated, where emergency clinics have been established.

This came after a hospital in Calais offered treatment to British patients who were denied NHS operations as a result of the winter crisis.

Official figures showed that Britain is suffering the worst flu season in seven years, following viruses from Australia sweeping across Europe.

The death toll has now reached 85, with 27 deaths last week.

All pensioners and children under the age of nine are offered free flu jabs on the NHS as well as people with chronic health problems.

Most of the UK, however, pay around £13.

Rami Ghanim, a pharmacist in Barrow, Cumbria, said patients were coming because of rising fears about “Aussie flu”.

He said: “I tried to order some more for some patients but they haven’t come in. I’ve tried a number of different suppliers who don’t look like they have many left.”

A spokesman for Boots UK told the Telegraph: “We’ve seen a very high level of demand in the recent week from people looking to protect themselves and their families against flu this winter and has meant some Boots stores temporarily ran out of stock for a limited time.

“We have quickly replenished our supply chain and Flu vaccinations will be available tomorrow from Boots Pharmacies across the country.”

The Government does have emergency stockpiles of the vaccine which can be formally requested by pharmacists.

Aussie FluGETTY

The death toll has now reached 85, with 27 deaths last week

Ministers are closely monitoring the spread of flu as fears continue to mount that the NHS will be thrown into crisis by another surge in cases.

On Thursday, the Government refused to say if front-line providers had applied to use its strategic reserve of flu vaccines.

Latest figures suggest Britain will be in the grip of a flu epidemic by the end of the month if the virus continues to spread at the current rate.

Health service data shows flu rates are continuing to rise, with one in five hospital cases suffering from the most deadly strain.

The statistics show flu rates have doubled in the last fortnight, raising the spectre of an epidemic in the UK within a month if trends continue.

Aussie FluGETTY

Patients in at least six areas reported visiting multiple chemists in search of the jab

The figures for England show rates of GP consultations about flu have risen from 18.9 per 100,000 people to 37.3 per 100,000 people in a fortnight.

If the trends continue, the country is on course to reach epidemic levels of more than 109 cases per 100,000 people within a month. Such rates have not been seen in England since the winter of 2010.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Vaccines are the best protection we have against flu. As well as getting the jab from a pharmacy, patients can also book an appointment with their GP.

“We are in close contact with the vaccine manufacturers and we are confident there is sufficient vaccine availability.”



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