NHS England has denied an Isle of Wight flu vaccine shortage, despite reports that Islanders are struggling to get their jab.

The service has said the reason for a lack of appointments is that older people aged 65 and over are being offered a more effective vaccine for their age group this year.

As the delivery of the new vaccine has been phased over September, October and up to the end of November, appointments will be spread out over this period and some regions — such as the IW — will not be phased until later in the year.

A spokesperson from NHS England said: "It is important to highlight there is no shortage of the vaccine. More vaccine is available this year than in previous years and all GP practices and pharmacies were provided with guidance."

One reader said: "My 78-year-old mum has been trying to get a jab at Carisbrooke Health Centre for weeks without success, so she went to Boots in Newport last weekend, and was told there were none available.

"She is now worried she will contract the flu before she can get a jab."

A spokesperson from Boots said: "Many Boots stores do have stock of the vaccine for over 65 year olds and are continuing to book customers in for appointments.

"However there is a temporary shortage of stock in a small number of stores which we expect to be fully back in stock by the end of the week."

Another reader said having read the articles in the County Press regarding the vaccine, she tried to get an appointment for herself and her husband.

She said: "I was once again told there is an Island shortage of the vaccine."

The spokesperson for NHS England said: "Flu usually starts from December onwards which is why we encourage vaccination before then to gain the most protection.

"Locally, individual GP practices and pharmacies will be able to advise when they are holding their next flu clinics or advise where patients can be vaccinated."