Some pharmacies in England have experienced a delay in the delivery of flu vaccines because of an ‘unexpected issue with a delivery partner’, the supplier has said.

Pharmacies have been notified that their flu vaccine delivery has been delayed and have been reassured by vaccine manufacturer Seqirus that supplies are on their way.

A spokesperson for the company's UK Country Head, Helen Concilia, told the Pharmacist yesterday (11 September) that some orders had been delayed due to an unexpected issue with delivering the flu vaccine.

‘This week, a small number of orders have been delayed due to an unexpected issue with our delivery partner. Our Customer Service team has notified all affected customers of new delivery dates. Orders will be back on track next week.’

‘We are experiencing high demand for flu vaccines across all markets and taking all possible steps to optimize supply. We remain committed to working together with our healthcare partners to ensure that GP practices and pharmacies receive their ordered vaccines.’

‘To-date, Seqirus has been on track to deliver extra doses in the UK to meet the unprecedented demand this winter,’ she said.

Unprecedented demand

In July, the Pharmacist reported that Sanofi – which supplies vaccines for under 65s and at-risk groups – said it would not deliver 30% of the stock ordered by pharmacies and surgeries until the week commencing 9 November.

Meanwhile, there have been concerns that manufacturers, may not be able to meet all the increased demand for flu vaccines this year, during an unprecedented demand for the vaccine worldwide.

Countries around the world have increased orders of flu vaccines, in fear that a second wave of Covid-19 and widespread flu in co-circulation could overburden health services this winter. Wider vaccination could reduce the level of flu in winter and protect hospital resources and staff time, allowing more efforts to be put towards tackling a possible second wave of the pandemic.

This comes as the Government announced the expanded cohort for the fly programme this year, which is set to target 30 million patients – including all those over 50, shielded patients and their households and all school year groups up to Year 7.

Last month, vaccine manufacturers told the Pharmacist that a no-deal Brexit will not impact vaccine supplies for the upcoming flu season.