Tenth of vaccine ready as flu campaign starts

The DoH launched its public flu vaccine campaign this week despite less than a tenth of UK vaccine orders having been delivered to GPs.

Posters and newspaper adverts with the message ‘If you knew about flu, you’d get the jab’ were distributed on Monday, despite the DoH acknowledging that only 1.2 million of the 15 million ordered doses of vaccine would be delivered by the end of the week.  

Dr David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the DoH, said: ‘Clearly we cannot give our assurance everyone will get their vaccine by October.’  

Manufacturing delays mean that only nine million doses will be delivered by the end of October, a further four million during November and the remaining two million in December, said Paul Rayner, chairman of the UK Vaccine Industry Group.  

Dr Nigel Higson, a Brighton GP with an interest in virology, said: ‘It is totally irresponsible. All they’re going to do is create unnecessary frustration and people won’t get a flu vaccine at all.’  

Rather than spend money on national campaigns, it would be better for the DoH to fund local advertisements about available flu clinics, he added.  

Berkshire GP and RCGP immunisation spokesman Dr George Kassianos said: ‘Only 1.2 million doses is very few to have a campaign calling patients in. If the DoH promotes it now, it will cause us problems.’  

Any suggestion that patients who consider themselves to be in an at-risk group should call the surgery were also criticised.  

Dr Kassianos added: ‘Patients are already knocking at the door asking for vaccine.  

‘It is absolutely impractical to ask patients to phone. They will paralyse the switchboard.’  

GPC chairman Hamish Meldrum said some practices would find it impossible to immunise all their at-risk patients before the winter flu season set in.  

‘There certainly won’t be spare supplies for those not in the at-risk groups,’ he said.  

At-risk groups  

Those aged 65 and over.  

Those aged over six months in one of the following risk groups: chronic respiratory disease, including asthma; chronic heart disease; chronic renal disease; chronic liver disease; diabetes; and immunosuppression.  

Those living in long-stay residential care homes.

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

Starting your career as a newly-qualified GP

Starting your career as a newly-qualified GP

Dr Patrice Baptiste describes how she developed a portfolio career as a newly-qualified...

Limited COVID-19 vaccine supply hampers GP efforts to ramp up rollout

Limited COVID-19 vaccine supply hampers GP efforts to ramp up rollout

Limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccine have forced GP-led vaccination sites to operate...

Increase cancer tests in primary care during pandemic, suggests NHS England

Increase cancer tests in primary care during pandemic, suggests NHS England

Local health systems should look to provide more cancer diagnostics in primary care...

Daily COVID-19 vaccinations drop below level required to hit February target

Daily COVID-19 vaccinations drop below level required to hit February target

Numbers of COVID-19 vaccinations administered per day have dipped below the number...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

GPs raise alarm over low uptake of COVID-19 vaccine in BAME patients

GPs raise alarm over low uptake of COVID-19 vaccine in BAME patients

GPs across England have raised concerns over low uptake of COVID-19 vaccination among...