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» Old pandemic flu vaccines may plug shortfall, PM says

The government is considering using left over vaccine from the swine flu pandemic to plug the shortfall in jabs this winter, the prime minister says.

David Cameron said the Department of Health was "working hard" to tackle the problem after reports that some areas have run out of the flu vaccine.

The government confirmed on Wednesday there were "local supply" issues, but denied there was a national shortfall.

It has also asked suppliers to see if there were spare vaccines in Europe.

But it is thought that there are only about 100,000 doses at most and so using the pandemic vaccine that was left over - there are millions of doses stockpiled - could provide the solution.

The vaccine is different from the jab being offered this year, but as swine flu is the dominant strain in circulation it could offer some protection.

Mr Cameron said: "There is a national stock of flu vaccine from the pandemic of 2009 and while that vaccine is slightly different... it does have some of the common characteristics.

"So one of the urgent discussions at the Department of Health right now is to work out whether that vaccine would be useful.

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