The government threw away over £800,000 worth of flu vaccines over a three year period because they were out-of-date, it emerged yesterday.
Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has revealed that the Department of Health disposed of 257,517 seasonal influenza vaccines between 2006 and 2008 because they were out-of-date at a cost of £821,373 — which equates to the annual wage of 39 newly qualified nurses.
SDLP MLA Thomas Burns said that at a time when Mr McGimpsey is expected to push through cost-cutting measures, he should ensure that the seasonal influenza programme is more efficient.
“There must be a better way to use the oversupply as opposed to having it destroyed,” he said.
Last year, 107,620 out-of-date flu vaccines were thrown out.
A spokesman from the Department of Health has defended the figures and explained that while they must ensure there are enough vaccines for all those eligible, the uptake by the public is not 100%.