More than 15,000 pensioners in the Scottish Borders will not be getting a new improved flu jab, available in England, thanks to a delay by the Scottish Government ordering the new drug.
Last October, health experts recommended that over 65s should be given a new upgraded flu jab which boosts the immune system as well as protecting against flu, called Fluad. While it costs more, the UK-wide Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation concluded it saves money in the long run by reducing hospital admissions.
In England, all over 65s will be eligible for the jab, after it was ordered in time for this winter’s season. However, health bosses north of the border did not order Fluad until March this year, meaning there are only enough supplies of the drug to offer it to over 75s in Scotland.
For the Scottish Borders, this means an estimated 15,714 people between the age of 65 and 74, will not be getting a flu jab which would be available to them if they lived across the border.
Local MP John Lamont has said this mess up by the Scottish Government could ultimately cost lives in the Borders.
Commenting, John Lamont MP said: “Older people in the Borders will rightly be concerned that they are not receiving the same flu vaccine as their counterparts in England. There really is little excuse for failing to get these drugs ordered in time when they managed it south of the border.
“The Scottish Government have repeatedly mismanaged winter pressures on our hospitals and this mistake, before the season has even started, does not bode well.
“A cut price and less effective flu jab is the last thing our tireless doctors and nurses at NHS Borders need in the run up to the winter months. And by failing to put their order in, in time, more than 15,000 pensioners in the Borders are not as well protected against flu as they could have been.”