Minister must urgently clarify situation around flu vaccine supplies, says Bradshaw

The Health Minister must urgently clarify the position around supplies of flu vaccines, after the Public Health Agency (PHA) said vaccination would be paused for under-65s.

The PHA said the shortage was the result of ‘phenomenal’ demand during the pandemic, with it potentially being weeks before more vaccinations are available, due to a worldwide shortage. South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw questioned Robin Swann in the Assembly two weeks ago about the availability, with the Minister replying extra doses had been purchased and he had been assured there was enough to meet the demand of all those who are asked to come forward.

“However, already in mid-October we hear the programme will be paused for under-65s pending further supplies,” she said.

“This causes significant concern among many people of working age with underlying conditions or their carers, who have been asked to come forward, or those who feel they would benefit from the protection of a vaccine.

“The Minister talked of ‘assurances from health professionals’ but we urgently need a public statement on what the position actually is and how it will be managed.”