A POLITICIAN claims he has been contacted by residents in Conwy and Denbighshire who are struggling to access flu vaccine appointments.

Darren Millar, Clwyd West MS, has called on Vaughan Gething, Wales' health minister, to ensure there is sufficient flu and pneumonia vaccines this year.

He terms the lack of access to appointments as "completely unacceptable".

Speaking in the Welsh Parliament, Mr Millar said: "The increase in demand for vaccines, is very, very welcome, as is the extension of the eligibility criteria, but, unfortunately, I've have people in my constituency who have been told they cannot schedule a flu jab appointment with their GPs until a month hence, which is clearly completely unacceptable, particularly for those in those vulnerable categories.

“And it's not just the flu vaccine that some people need to access; there's also the vaccine to protect vulnerable people against pneumonia, and I'm aware that there are shortages of that vaccine across Wales too."

Mr Gething replied that he was aware of some challenges in supply and insisted they were "short-term matters."

Mr Millar added: "With winter almost upon us and the pandemic to deal with, it is more important than ever that people get access to the vaccines they need."

A spokesperson from the Welsh Government said: "In July we announced Wales’s largest ever flu vaccine programme which will see more people than ever benefit from the free vaccination. The delivery of flu vaccines is phased over the autumn with priority given to those who are most at risk.

"As a result of high demand, some patients may be asked to wait until further deliveries are received by their GP practice or pharmacy.

"Additional supplies of the vaccine have been procured to ensure there will be enough for everyone in the priority groups who wants one.”

Flu (also known as influenza) can be serious and having a flu vaccination every year is the best way to protect yourself.

Visit phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/beat-flu