SEVEN in ten GPs have had to turn away pensioners wanting the flu jab because of a national shortage, a survey reveals.
Doctors called it a “complete debacle” and warned it has left patients at risk of catching the deadly virus.
They said NHS England must learn from the blunder, which saw officials decide which vaccine to offer too late in the year. It left the manufacturer little time to produce enough of the jab, so deliveries were staggered.
Patients will need to wait two weeks for the vaccine to be effective, leaving some at risk into December.
Pensioners are being given a different jab which boosts their immune system. It protects against three strains of the virus whereas the one for other adults protects against four.
The poll of 648 GPs by Pulse magazine found 69 per cent had a shortage of the three-strain jab and 24 per cent the four-strain.
Dr Marie Williams, of Blackpool, said: “It has been a complete debacle. Supplies were ordered in plenty of time.”
NHS England blamed GPs but insisted all vaccines will be delivered by the end of the week.
Just 52 per cent of OAPs have had the jab so far, compared with 65 per cent in 2017, figures show.