'A complete debacle': Flu vaccines about to run out despite Government's claim all Kiwis can get them

Newshub can reveal hundreds of Auckland doctors have been told yet again that stocks of flu vaccines are about to run out. 

A message sent to doctors based on advice from the Ministry of Health was sent out just hours after Dr Ashley Bloomfield told the public that everyone can now get the jab.

The revelation has left Kiwi doctors furious.

The instructions for the public were clear from the Director-General of Health at the 1pm coronavirus briefing on Wednesday: "All New Zealanders are now able to get a flu jab, and I would encourage them to do so."

Precisely five hours and 25 minutes after Dr Bloomfield made that claim, an email was sent to doctors by ProCare, which represents 173 Auckland practices that service more than 800,000 patients.

"Flu vaccine update: read it and weep," was the headline. 

"Guess what?" the update asked. "The Ministry of Health advises that at the current rate of distribution, New Zealand is likely to run out of stock next week."

Dr Jan White, Medical Association General Practitioner Council Chair, says the situation is a mess, and "we can't have a mess like this".

"We need you to accept that there is a problem, see what the problem is, and fix the problem and make sure that the problem never happens again," she told Newshub.

An Auckland Practice Manager told Newshub that practices have been left very frustrated, and have had to cancel 50 bookings for next week.

A staff member at a Christchurch clinic said: "We've only got enough vaccines for today - after that, we have run out and are not taking bookings until May 11".

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"I've had emails this morning from GPs over the country who are cancelling patients," Dr White said.

A memo from supplier Healthcare Logistics confirms the nationwide problem, saying: "We expect to have limited stock available by the beginning of next week. ETA of next delivery is mid-May."

Despite this, the Government insists its campaign is working

"We have 700,000 vaccine doses around the country that have not yet been administered. So they are in the community," Finance Minister Grant Robertson said on Friday.

"I think it shows total mismanagement by someone," Dr White said. "If the vaccine is there - in the community - get it to the place that it's needed, which is in the general practice's fridge."

The Government puts it all down to a distribution issue - but this predicament is not a new one. 

Vaccine shortages have dogged previous flu and measles campaigns, and doctors have called this year's flu campaign a "complete debacle". 

It has become abundantly clear that despite the Government's rejection of such an assertion, a debacle is exactly what it is.