Gloucestershire GPs run out of flu vaccine
GP surgeries have run out of the seasonal flu vaccine.
More than 1,000 appointments have been cancelled across Cheltenham after six surgeries ran out of vaccines, NHS Gloucestershire confirmed.
It comes just weeks into a campaign to get more people to have the jab.
Peter Badham, who owns four pharmacies in Cheltenham, said he would be taking the pressure off the surgeries by getting in extra supplies by Tuesday.
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He said: "It is ridiculous that it has come to this.
"It is not the fault of the doctors who are doing their best but for one reason or another we are able to get supplies in by Tuesday and we will be helping the most critical cases first.
"I understand more than 1,000 appointments have already been cancelled because the surgeries have run out and we will happily advise people if they would like to call us or pop into one of our stores.
"One critical case involved a pregnant woman who can only have her shot next week before it is too late and she is not allowed because of her condition. We will try and treat people like her first and do what we can for the rest until the surgeries are restocked."
Former borough councillor for St Paul's, Paul Wheeldon, said his mother had tried to get the vaccine from her doctor's surgery in Bishop's Cleeve, but was told they would not be restocked until November. He said: "There are a lot of vulnerable people who are going to be worried about this because the flu virus becomes a lot more prevalent at the end of October so if they have to wait until November, there is a window for them to be infected.
"Both my parents are in their 70s and the NHS classes them as vulnerable, saying they and others like them should have the flu vaccine as soon as possible.
"Let us hope that they can restock quicker than November because at the moment there will be a lot at risk."
NHS Gloucestershire launched its flu vaccine campaign in September, urging patients to book their jabs as soon as possible. The PCT has not been able to confirm exactly when the new supplies will be available.
Caryn Cox, public health consultant at NHS Gloucestershire, said: "The flu campaign in Gloucestershire has got off to a really positive start, with lots of people requesting the vaccination from their GP practice. A few practices in Cheltenham are currently waiting for additional supplies of the vaccination to arrive, which means that some of the planned clinics may have to be rescheduled.
"Practices will inform their patients where this is the case. There will be plenty of supplies available soon, to ensure that all eligible people in Gloucestershire can have their jab."