JANUARY 1 2011 21:21h
Flu vaccine shortage disrupts British care
At some hospitals, elective operations have been called off and pregnant women, the elderly and patients with chronic illnesses are being told to postpone appointments, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.
Some National Health Service hospitals were on "black alert," the highest status level, Friday as the number of children under 5 with seriously flu cases doubled in a week.
Doctors have warned that services are being exhausted by the demand for treatment and the pressure on hospitals was "not sustainable."
Douglas Fleming of the Royal College of General Practice said, "It is too late for the majority to benefit" from vaccination. "Whether it is too late for anyone is hard to say. The elderly have not been hard-hit so far. The evidence is they are getting it now -- they may have a bit more scope."
Official figures show 738 patients in intensive care with flu, almost double last week's 460. The critically ill include 42 children under 5, up from 26 seven days ago.
LONDON, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- A sudden flu outbreak in Britain has caused a vaccine shortage and forced cancellation of surgeries, hospital officials say.