The Times reports today that the Department of Health have come in for severe criticism form doctors over the sloppy way they have organised the ordering of the annual flu vaccine.
Only 37% of the at-risk group had been vaccinated by the end of October, the official start of the flu season, leading to fears that there may be much more cases of flu this winter than there might normally be. According to health care professionals, the flu vaccine simply isn't available.
What is of particular concern, and something The Times does not bring up is that a mutated pandemic form of bird flu is expected to sweep across the world at somepoint over the next few years. This mutation is expected to happen when someone comes in to contact with an infected bird at the same time as having the human version of flu. By not vaccinating people against human flu this year the chances of that mutation occurring that much quicker is more likely.
The other area that should worry us is that if the government are unable to organise getting the annual flu vaccine, an annual event that they do each year, how are they going to organise a flu pandemic vaccine properly. All the experts say it will take 5-6 months for the first vaccine to be made available after a flu pandemic strikes. The Department of Health's "cock-up" over the annual vaccine will give little confidence to people who are already questioning whether we have the capacity to properly produce enough vaccine on time.