Flu vaccines for over-65s 'will be ready before potential no-deal Brexit'

All supplies of the flu vaccine recommended for UK patients aged over 65 will be in place before 31 October, the vaccine's manufacturer has said.

Flu vaccination (Photo: Education Images/Getty Images)
Flu vaccination (Photo: Education Images/Getty Images)

Manufacturer Seqirus said this week that it had begun shipping flu vaccines to GP practices and pharmacies across the UK.

A spokesperson said there was 'no delay' and that the company expected to have completed deliveries 'before any potential no-deal Brexit'. Seqirus produces Fluad - the adjuvanted trivalent inactivated vaccine (aTIV) recommended for over-65s - as well as a cell-based quadrivalent vaccine for other age groups.

Doctors have warned that leaving the EU without a deal could affect supplies of vital medicines, and warnings emerged last month that flu vaccine delays were 'likely' in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Royal College of Physicians president Professor Andrew Goddard told BBC Newsnight: 'What we can see is we're likely to not have enough flu vaccine, we are likely not to have the flu vaccine coverage that we've had in previous years, and that is likely to have an impact on the NHS.'

Flu vaccination

Concerns have also been raised that a delayed announcement on flu strains likely to be in circulation could also affect manufacturers' ability to deliver vaccines on time.

However, GPs have now been told that supplies for over-65s will be in place. A statement from Seqirus said that delivering vaccines 'at the agreed times, despite the manufacturing challenges faced by the delay in the World Health Organization (WHO) H3N2 strain announcement, means that GP practices and pharmacies will be well prepared to vaccinate the most vulnerable populations ahead of this year’s influenza season'.

It added: 'aTIV was the only flu vaccine recommended for reimbursement by the NHS for the 65+ age group during last year’s flu season and has been recommended again for this season. The on-time availability of aTIV is therefore likely to be reassuring for health professionals across the UK, given the prioritisation of elderly immunisation.'

During the 2018/19 flu season, some practices and pharmacies were unable to secure supplies of aTIV and were advised to share supplies.

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