Delay in delivery of H1N1 vaccine

2010-04-21 00:00

PATIENTS who require the H1N1 (“swine flu”) vaccine have been inconvenienced by a delay in distribution, as public hospitals and clinics in the province are still to receive it.

Ashleigh Robertson of Hilton said one of her daughters, Courtney (10), is an insulin-dependent type 1 diabetic patient, while Amy (5) has cystic fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited genetic disease that clogs the lungs with thick mucus. Repeated infections and blockages can cause irreversible lung damage and death.

Robertson said clinics and hospitals in the public sector do not have the vaccine.

“I phoned both Addington and Grey’s hospitals because that’s where my daughters get treatment.

“I was told that they do not stock the H1N1 vaccine. Northdale and Edendale told me the same thing,” Robertson said.

She then phoned Charity Bhengu of the national Health Ministry, who said the vaccine is available at any clinic in KZN.

“This was strange because every clinic I phoned in Pietermaritzburg and Durban had the same story — that they don’t have the vaccine,” said Robertson.

Grey’s Hospital spokesman Zama Mntungwa confirmed that the vaccine is not available at the hospital, but referred The Witness to the KZN Health Department for further information.

Edendale Hospital said it has vaccinated more than 200 children with heart conditions since last Monday.

Bhengu was adamant that there is no shortage of the vaccine in KwaZulu-Natal, adding that the vaccinations are being conducted in phases, starting with children with HIV/Aids and followed by people with heart and lung conditions, pregnant women and HIV-positive adults, in June.

KZN Health spokesperson Chris Maxon confirmed that there has been a delay in the delivery of the vaccine to the province.

He said it is hoped that most clinics will have supplies within the next week.



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