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Aussie flu-hit Brits face jab crisis as chemists begin to run out of vaccines

BRITS are facing an Aussie flu jab crisis as chemists are reportedly beginning to run out of vaccines.

Pharmacies across the UK have been forced to turn away patients due to a shortage amid fears of an epidemic as the virus continues to spread.

Branches of Boots in Cumbria, the Midlands, the East of England, the South and South West all reported to have no jabs left.

The company confirmed the 10 stores contacted by the Daily Telegraph were due to be restocked today, however wholesalers have reportedly pushed up prices as demand increases.

High street chemists are understood to have avoided overstocking the vaccine because the NHS only reimburses the cost of those used.

Emergency clinics have been established in fire stations in parts of South London with vaccinated children urged to get the jab, which is free to those under the age of nine and pensioners.

The cost of the vaccine for the rest of the population is £13.

Pharmacists can formally request emergency stockpiles from the Government, but the Department of Health wouldn't say whether it its strategic reserve had been dipped into.

Rami Ghanim, a pharmacist in Barrow, Cumbria, told the Telegraph: “I tried to order some more for some patients but they haven’t come in. I’ve tried a number of different suppliers who don’t look like they have many left.”

It comes as health bosses reportedly authorised the use of controversial antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu to contain the outbreak.

A "health alert" was sent to all GPs in England urging them to give the most vulnerable people with symptoms of flu the medication, the Mail reports.

Doctors in some parts of the country were told to issue antiviral meds to all care home residents, even if they aren't ill, to stop the spread.

But a leading expert claims there is no evidence the drugs are ineffective – and no better the paracetemol.

Professor Carl Heneghan of Oxford University, who previously published a report on Tamiflu, told the Mail: "‘We have shown Tamiflu leads to only a small reduction in symptoms – about the same you get from taking paracetamol."

The death toll has reportedly reached 85, with 48 of those in England.

What are the symptoms of Aussie flu?

Symptoms of Aussie flu are similar to those caused by normal flu, but they are more severe. Here are some signs to look out for:

People should recover from normal flu within a week so, although the cough and fatigue may last longer.

So if you're still really ill after seven days, it's a good indication of something more serious.

Aussie flu can lead to pneumonia and other potentially fatal complications

Tributes have been paid to 18-year-old Bethany Walker, who died of pneumonia after suffering from flu.

The teenager, from Applecross in the Scottish Highlands, died on Friday as three strains of flu put pressure on health services across the UK.

The number of people admitted to intensive care with flu has risen by 65 per cent, the latest figures show.

Public Health England (PHE) said there had also been a 78 per cent increase in the GP consultation rate with flu-like illness, and a 50 per cent increase in the rate of hospital admissions for flu cases in the first week of the year.

The main strains circulating continue to be flu A(H3N2), known as Aussie flu, A(H1N1), known as swine flu, and Flu B.

Professor Paul Cosford, medical director at PHE, said: "People suffering with flu-like symptoms should catch coughs or sneezes in tissues and bin them immediately, wash their hands regularly with soap and warm water and frequently clean regularly-used surfaces to stop the spread of flu.

"Avoid having unnecessary contact with other people if you or they have symptoms of flu."

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