Pensioners to miss out on flu jab due to 'procurement blunder'

A procurement blunder has impacted stocks of flu jabs
A procurement blunder has impacted stocks of flu jabs
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Half a million Scottish pensioners are set to miss out on an updated flu jab this winter available in England, due to a procurement blunder.

Public health minister Joe FitzPatrick told Scottish Parliament that NHS National Service Scotland ordered its vaccine before expert advisers recommended changing to a new strain.

As a result of the blunder, the new vaccination available to all over-65s in England and Wales will only go to over-75s in Scotland.

Around 560,000 Scots aged 65 to 74 will miss out during this year's vaccination programme as a result.

Mr FitzPatrick said the sole supplier had been “unable to guarantee NHS Scotland sufficient supply of the vaccine for everyone over 65 in time"

He said GPs ordered the vaccine down south, not a central procurement body.

He said: “After seeking expert advice, it was clear that the safer approach for us to take would be to roll-out the new vaccine in 2018 and 2019 that guarantees a supply of the flu vaccine for everyone eligible.”

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar said: “This is so concerning because the number of flu deaths in Scotland rose from 71 in 2016-17 to more than 330 in 2017-18.”