20 Apr 2010

Ash cloud casts doubt on vaccine supply

7:28 pm on 20 April 2010

The Ministry of Health has asked health providers to halt influenza vaccination clinics as the volcanic ash cloud over Europe casts doubt on New Zealand's vaccine supply.

Workplace vaccinations have also been halted.

Demand for the seasonal flu vaccine is at an unprecedented level for this time of year.

But the ash cloud has interrupted its supply from Paris and there is no alternative sources available.

The ministry's immunisation manager, David Wansbrough, says vaccination clinics and workplace immunisations can proceed once supply is assured.

Mr Wansbrough says there are 80,000 vaccinations in stock. About 100,000 more people have been vaccinated so far this year than at the same time last year.