Flu jab shortages prompt emergency reserve enquiries

Local shortages of flu vaccines are affecting some GP practices in England following disruption to supplies from one manufacturer, and GPs have contacted the DH about its emergency reserve.

Flu vaccines: DH holds strategic reserve

Practices have also approached the RCGP about sharing vials between local surgeries to overcome isolated shortages in parts of the country.

Manufacturer Crucell voluntarily halted all deliveries of its vaccines to the UK while it investigates two batches on patient safety grounds.

GPs have contacted the DH about accessing the central emergency reserve of 400,000 doses, but the DH said it has yet to release any stocks from this reserve.

A DH spokesman said: 'As in previous years, once delivery of vaccine to general practice is underway the department builds a strategic reserve of around 400,000 doses of flu vaccine.

'This reserve is to use near the end of the seasonal flu vaccination programme if all other supplies have been exhausted.'

RCGP health protection lead Dr Maureen Baker said it was difficult to know how many practices would be affected by the withdrawal of Crucell deliveries.

RCGP immunisation lead Dr George Kassianos defended GPs' vaccine-ordering system following reports that practices in Gloucestershire had postponed 1,000 appointments.

He said: 'The vaccine-ordering system in place in England is excellent because it allows practices to order from multiple sources.'

'The central emergency reserve should come in with help to practices unable to source flu vaccines from any other source.'

The DH has asked practices to contact other suppliers in the first instance if they are experiencing problems. Local supplies of vaccines can also be shared between practices.

The department has been in contact with suppliers, which are working to secure more vaccine. Some suppliers have reported stocks are available for order.

Read the DH protocol for practices faced with vaccine shortages here

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published


NICE moves CVD advice closer to QOF and updates treatment escalation options

NICE draft guidance on cardiovascular disease backs a new target for lipid levels...

GP surgery sign

GP alert system shows practices under major pressure

General practice has moved up to an 'OPEL 3' pressure rating nationally with two...

Podcast: How making your practice a better place to work can improve patient care

Sheffield GP Dr Ben Allen explains how focusing on staff and improving his practice's...

X-ray sign

Spike in TB cases prompts public health warning

Cases of TB in England have risen by 7% compared with last year, prompting a warning...

COVID-19 vaccine

GPs demand investigation as winter vaccine 'mismanagement' risks patient safety

GP leaders in England have demanded an investigation into 'mismanagement' of this...

Medical centre sign

GP 'engineering' fears as small practice contracts offered on branch-only basis

GP leaders have raised concerns over the 'engineering' of general practice after...