Shingles vaccine stocks may run out, officials warn

Disruption to the shingles vaccination campaign is expected to continue into next month as delays to supplies threaten to exhaust UK stocks of the vaccine.

Practices face delays acquiring Zostavax, which can protect elderly people against the herpes varicella-zoster virus (pictured)
Practices face delays acquiring Zostavax, which can protect elderly people against the herpes varicella-zoster virus (pictured)

Public Health England said restrictions on orders would remain and warned it was likely that central stocks would run out.

Orders of Zostavax were capped at five doses last month after delays to the supply of vaccine to the UK. It came just two weeks after the launch of a new national programme to vaccinate 70- and 79-year-olds.

In an update, Public Health England said vaccine supplies from manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur MSD 'remain subject to a temporary delay' but that normal supplies are expected to resume in November.

A spokesman for the manufacturer confirmed that it expects supplies to return to normal next month.

Public Health England's vaccine update said: 'During this time, a restriction on the quantity of vaccine that can be ordered will remain in place while the vaccine is in stock. It is likely that there will be periods of no stock.'

The organisation repeated that it does not expect the temporary supply delays to affect the overall programme.

But when the delays were first announced, RCGP immunisation lead Dr George Kassianos said a shortage of doses would hit surgeries' vaccination clinics.

Sanofi Pasteur MSD is running tests on the vaccine before it can be distributed in the EU, but this has taken longer than anticipated.

GPs and practice staff should check the ImmForm website for the latest on vaccine availability.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Patient receiving flu vaccination

GP practices denied funding to vaccinate their own staff against flu

GPs have hit out at NHS England over a 'maddeningly frustrating' failure to offer...

BMA junior doctor strike action in 2016

Junior doctors to be balloted on industrial action in early January

The BMA looks set to ballot junior doctors in England on industrial action in early...

BMA sign

BMA sets up first-ever ‘strike fund’ to support industrial action

The BMA is about to release £2m from its reserves to pay for possible ballots on...

Dozens of GPs with suicidal thoughts contact specialist service every month

A specialist mental health service for doctors is being contacted by dozens of GPs...

GP consultation

GPs demand this summer 'matched pre-pandemic winter'

General practice needs urgent support to cope with spiralling demand after appointments...

Talking General Practice

Podcast: Looking after GP mental health at a time of crisis

We speak to Dr Helen Garr, medical director of NHS Practitioner Health, about the...