U.K. resorts to using last year's flu vaccine

Dame Sally Davies, Britain’s chief medical officer, recently ordered that hospitals could use the H1N1 vaccine from last year if they run out of this year’s seasonal vaccine.

Hospitals now have access to 12 million doses of vaccine, but these do not protect comprehensively from all of the circulating strains, according to

The recommendation comes as death toll in the U.K. from the flu reached 50. Forty-five people have succumbed from swine flu and another five from type B flu. Hospitals in some areas have been told to cancel operations in order to make way for seriously ill patients.

The deaths are mostly among children and young adults, reports. About 780 people remain in critical care in England alone. National Health Service chief executive Sir David Nicholson said that the outbreak was putting the health system under extreme pressure.

David Cameron, the U.K. prime minister, denied that the government had been complacent.

“In some places, yes, there are some shortages,” Cameron said, according to “The department of health has been meeting urgently today and we’ll be using the stocks that were established for a previous pandemic and making that available."

The NHS is readying to expand the number of beds it has available for extra corporeal membrane oxygenation treatment, often used as a last resort.