Has the NHS procured too many swine flu shots?

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) has nearly 34 million unused swine flu vaccines at present due to a drop in the number of cases and these vaccinations. A total 44 million shots were procured. 3.8 million of these unused shots will be sent to Africa via the World Health Organization to help them. Of the rest, 10.6m is already with GPs who will be ready to act if more people entitled to the jab come forward. But the remaining 23.6m will be held in reserve.

The Conservative party has criticized this as a waste of taxpayer’s money. However many health authorities believe it is possible the vaccine could be used to combat seasonal flu this winter as it is thought the swine flu virus will become the dominant strain.

GlaxoSmithKline with whom the deal was made in the first place has agreed the British government can cut its order of H1N1 swine flu vaccines by about a third. Both the government and GSK spokepersons separately announced on Tuesday that they had agreed to cap the number of Pandemrix shots to 34.8 million doses, including those already delivered, and there would be no cancellation fee.

"The final settlement was mutually agreed as representing fair value for the UK government and the manufacturer," the health department said in a statement. The Government has also said that this agreement has also made it possible to procure other GSK products like anti flu drugs Relenza to combat the outbreak. However these announcements fail to protect GSK stocks that fell by 0.7% by 1025 GMT.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.

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