Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Jab Shortage Sparks Fears

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Jab Shortage Sparks Fears

Article excerpt

Hundreds of children across the North East are at huge risk of catching mumps because the company providing the vaccine is running out of stock.

The shortage comes in the wake a new mumps outbreak in the region and there are fears the vaccine shortage could make it even worse.

Now parents who have already paid pounds 160 for separate measles and rubella injections are fuming that they may have to give their children the controversial joint MMR vaccine after all to protect them against mumps.

More than 1,000 children from the North East have signed up for separate measles, mumps and rubella injections, which cost pounds 80 a go at a clinic in Darlington called Direct Health 2000.

But now hundreds of parents have been told their children could have to wait up to six months before they can be inoculated against mumps because of a nationwide shortage of the vaccine.

Three-year-old Rebecca Green, of Forest Hall, Newcastle, has been waiting for her mumps jab for nine months.

Her parents, Ursull and Michael Green, both 32, are outraged that their daughter has had to wait so long and that they have had so little communication from the company.

"Rebecca has already had her measles and rubella injections and she was due to have her mumps jab last August, but that was rescheduled to November because they said they were low on stock," Mrs Green said.

"In October last year, we received a letter saying the November appointment had been cancelled, again because of a shortage of the vaccine.

"I rang Direct Health 2000 in January asking what was happening because I was concerned how long Rebecca had been waiting, but was told they would write in due course.

"Then last week, I heard about all these people getting mumps, so I rang them again and was told it could be as long as six months."

A letter dated April 25 is posted on the Direct Health 2000 website, but Mrs Green says she has not received it.

Mrs Green is now faced with the decision of whether she should take Rebecca back to her GP to have the triple MMR jab because she is worried she is now at risk of catching mumps.

She said: "The family has already paid out pounds 160 for the first two injections, as well as a deposit for the mumps jab, but if the vaccine doesn't come in soon, then I think we'll have to take Rebecca to get the MMR injection after all.

"That means we will have wasted the pounds 160 and it totally defeats the point of getting the separate doses in the first place. I'm also worried about what effect two doses of rubella and measles could have on Rebecca.

"I feel very uncomfortable about her starting school in September without having had all her inoculations, especially at the moment, when there is so much mumps going around."

Sarah Dean, managing director of Direct Health 2000, admitted some parents had been kept waiting but said while there was no new vaccine coming in, she did not think there was any point in updating them by letter. …

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