Single flu vaccine to cover all adults in 2019/20, NHS England confirms

GP practices will be able to use just one flu vaccine for all patients over the age of nine in 2019/20, NHS England has confirmed.

Flu jab (Photo: iStock.com/fstop123)
Flu jab (Photo: iStock.com/fstop123)

In a letter published on Wednesday, NHS England revealed that the new cell-grown quadrivalent vaccine QIVc - licenced for use in the UK last week - had been deemed safe and effective across all age groups by the government’s vaccination advisory committee.

This follows a ‘complex’ 2018/19 flu season, which saw GPs delivering different jabs - some of which were subject to a ‘phased’ delivery process - to different at risk groups, resulting in longer wait times for patients and increased workload for GPs.

Although the standard quadrivalent inactivated vaccine (QIVe) is still recommended for 18- to 64-year-olds in clinical at-risk groups and other eligible groups, and the adjuvanted trivalent inactivated vaccine (aTIV) is still recommended for patients aged 65 years and over, all groups of patients over the age of nine will be able to receive the QIVc vaccine as part of the 2019/20 campaign.

Flu vaccines

The letter, sent by NHS England’s national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: ‘The vaccines recommended for the 2018/19 season continue to be recommended for the 2019/20 season... In addition, QIVc - Flucelvax Tetra - is now licensed for use in the UK for patients aged nine years and upwards.’

He also confirmed that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) considers QIVc to be ‘equally suitable’ compared with both QIVe and aTIV.

The new QIVc vaccine will be supplied by Seqirus, the company who supplied the aTIV vaccine for the 2018/19 season.

GPC clinical and prescribing lead Dr Andrew Green told GPonline: 'After last year’s difficulties it is vital that GPs get all the information they need about next year’s campaign as soon as possible, so that they can place firm orders. The availability of different vaccines this year does complicate matters, and it is up to each practice to make their own decision about which type to use.'

Flu pandemic

In September, Dr Green advised GPs to start ‘dusting off’ contingency plans for a possible flu pandemic this winter.

Speaking at the time, he said: ‘We never know when the next flu pandemic will strike. [However] the shortest period between 20th century pandemics was 12 years, and we are already nine years after the last one, so all practices should be dusting off their pandemic plans now.’

Flu consultation rates have risen sharply over the past two weeks, official figures show.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Breakthrough for state GP indemnity as second MDO agrees terms on historic liabilities

Breakthrough for state GP indemnity as second MDO agrees terms on historic liabilities

A second medical defence organisation (MDO) has agreed terms for the government to...

Northern Ireland unveils £27m GP funding boost for 2019/20

Northern Ireland unveils £27m GP funding boost for 2019/20

Investment in general practice in Northern Ireland will rise by £26.76m during the...

'How I survived a bewildering ten-month investigation by the GMC'

'How I survived a bewildering ten-month investigation by the GMC'

How does the experience of a GMC investigation impact on the lives of doctors? One...

90% of patients would recommend their GP practice to friends or family

90% of patients would recommend their GP practice to friends or family

Nine in 10 people would recommend their GP practice to a friend or family member,...

NHS documentary spells out threat to future of the health service

NHS documentary spells out threat to future of the health service

A documentary film appearing in cinemas across the UK next month tells how the NHS...

GP funding rose much faster in rest of UK than England in 2018/19

GP funding rose much faster in rest of UK than England in 2018/19

Total NHS investment in general practice in England rose just 1.36% in real terms...