GPs urged to use own flu vaccines first

The GPC has urged GPs to use 'whatever vaccine they have' to vaccinate vulnerable patients against flu before ordering swine flu vaccine from central stores.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman also asked GPs to report supply problems to LMCs in a letter sent to LMCs along with the CMO's latest flu update.

Dr Michelle Drage, CEO of Londonwide LMCs, told members: ‘The chairman of the GPC urges every GP practice to offer whatever vaccine they have to those at risk and to let their LMC know if they are having problems obtaining supplies.’

The flu update letter from interim CMO Professor Dame Sally Davies explained arrangements for the swine flu vaccine, which can now be offered to patients if the seasonal flu jab is unavailable.

She said: 'Pandemrix should be considered a seasonal flu vaccine for the purposes of administration.

'GPs should therefore be paid using arrangements set up under the seasonal flu and pneumococcal DES, not the Pandemic Influenza (H1N1) DES.'

It comes as health secretary Andrew Lansley wrote to MPs to explain the government’s next steps to counter the outbreak.

In it, he said GPs were being asked to use locally held stocks of Pandemrix, GSK’s pandemic flu vaccine, before accessing centrally-held stores.

He added that the government will conduct a review into whether seasonal flu vaccine should be purchased and stored centrally in future years.

The latest figures show uptake of vaccination reached 70% of over 65s and 45.4% of those in clinical at-risk groups by 2 January.

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