http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... -jabs.html
GPs failed to order extra supplies of the flu jab for pregnant women despite at least 12 dying last year from swine flu, it has emerged.
Although doctors were told more than six months ago that expectant mothers would be offered the vaccine for the first time this winter, most did not think to buy in additional stock.
They believed the numbers of pregnant women wanting the jab would be low.
But over the past few weeks there has been a surge in patients heeding the advice of health officials amid rising infection levels.
Many GP surgeries have run out of jabs and the Government has been forced to raid last year’s leftover swine flu vaccine stock.
From next week family doctors will be able to order supplies of the old vaccine, which will protect against swine flu but not the other less harmful strains circulating.
Although the Department of Health told GPs that pregnant women would be offered the jab at the end of June, many now admit they made no change to orders.
The swine flu virus has been shown to be far more deadly among expectant mothers than the general population, but there are growing concerns that not enough is being done to protect them.
Yesterday a damning report into eight of the 12 deaths of pregnant women from the H1N1 virus during last year’s pandemic said that they were ‘avoidable’.
The Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries, an independent organisation which investigates deaths, found the tragedies could have been prevented if the women had been admitted to hospital sooner and given Tamiflu. It is estimated that around half a million women are pregnant and therefore eligible for the vaccine.
Health officials will not confirm how many pregnant women have died so far this year, or the numbers admitted to intensive care.
Among those who contracted the virus while pregnant was Sarah Applin, 32, who died on Tuesday, two weeks after giving birth.
But GPs insist there would have been enough jabs had there not been a sudden surge in demand over the past few weeks.
Most surgeries place their orders for vaccines for the following flu season between January and March, so some will have already made their requests for next year. Dr Peter Holden, a GP in Matlock, Derbyshire, said: ‘The average practice has just 70 pregnant women so most would have been able to cope.
‘This season has been different. People who earlier refused it are suddenly coming forward.’
Ministers will carry out a review later this year into whether vaccines should be ordered centrally, rather than by GP surgeries.
There is no vaccine shortage in Scotland where supplies are bought in by pharmacies and distributed among practices.
The latest known swine flu victim is Katrina Theis, 52, who died on Wednesday. She became ill with the flu on December 29 and was struggling to breathe three days later.
The mother of two, of Ffordd Ifor, Penycae, Wrexham, had medical problems including diabetes.