Leeds and Wakefield: 68 flu victims treated in critical care beds

GPS in Leeds and Wakefield have quelled fears of shortages of flu vaccines as it was revealed that 68 patients are being treated in Yorkshire critical care beds.

Practices in West Yorkshire were not reporting the shortfall of the vaccination which has affected other parts of the country.

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Latest figures show 68 patients with confirmed or suspected flu are in

intensive care or high dependency beds in the region.

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Across the country, 50 people have died with flu, the vast majority with H1N1 swine flu, up 11 on the previous week. All but four were aged under 64.

The Department of Health yesterday said leftover swine flu vaccines were being released following "local supply issues" with the current stocks, but doctors in Leeds said the city had not been affected.

Dr Richard Vautrey, from GP representative body the Leeds Local Medical Committee, said: "We do believe there's enough flu jab for the at-risk groups."

He said it would be usual at this point in winter for some practices to have used up their stocks and to share with nearby surgeries.

Dr Vautrey said his practice in Meanwood had enough for vulnerable patients, but they had seen an increase other patients asking for the flu vaccine.

Previously doctors could be flexible about vaccinating those on the borderline of being at risk, but that might not currently be possible. He added: "We don't think we are seeing a larger number of people than we would expect. We are certainly not anywhere near pandemic or serious levels.

"Every year we see rises in flu cases that go unreportedly largely because they are affecting elderly and more vulnerable people. The difference this year is that we are seeing younger people being affected."

Health officials in Wakefield said they had not heard of any supply issues among their GPs either.

Nationally, suppliers have been asked to contact their factories in Europe to establish the number of UK-licensed vaccines.

To arrange a flu vaccination, contact your GP.