One of Scotland’s most enterprising independent general practitioners has acquired a new stock of scarce Meningitis B vaccine, which has been in reduced supply since last year, sparking shortage fears among mothers of young children.
Dr Sheila O’Neill, one of only two private GPs in the Glasgow city centre, is now one of the few doctors in the city in a position to start administering the vaccine immediately to patients on a first-come, first-served basis.
The new supply source will ease the concerns of many parents who have been unable to obtain the vaccine on the NHS, though the national service has continued to immunise newborns.
Demand for the vaccine, called Bexsero, soared at the beginning of the year after the Meningitis death of two-year-old Faye Burdett, whose mother posted heart-rending pictures of her and said her daughter died in “a pain you cannot describe”.
The demand, which was backed by a nationwide campaign to give the vaccine to all children up to the age of 11, coincided with a global shortage. Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline warned of constraints and asked practices to rein back on use of the vaccine.
Dr O’Neill, who recently has opened the Glasgow Medical Rooms in St Vincent Street in Glasgow, has already posted comprehensive information about availability of Bexsero on her website glasgowmedicalrooms.com.
She said: “The shortages which characterised the first half of the year have now eased and private GP practices such as Glasgow Medical Rooms are now able to source this much-needed immunisation. However, because of the previous scarcity, there are likely to be substantial backlogs.
“Meningitis B symptoms can sometimes be difficult to gauge in infants and babies. Common symptoms in children and adults include a high fever, vomiting, dislike of bright lights and a possible altered mental state.
“If anyone is experiencing any of these symptoms, they should seek medical treatment immediately.”
For further information about Glasgow Medical Rooms, contact Dr Sheila O’Neill, 211 St Vincent Street, Glasgow G2 5QY. T: 0141 225 0140.