Three of the four flu vaccine manufacturers for the UK have confirmed there are currently no issues with deliveries of vaccines this winter, The Pharmacist has learned.
This comes as Seqirus — one of the four providers — confirmed yesterday (6 September) that pharmacies in England and Wales could see delays of up to two weeks on deliveries of flu vaccines.
The manufacturer told The Pharmacist that delays were the result of ‘various logistical issues’ and customers would be informed of their delivery seven days in advance.
However, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it was ‘untrue’ to say there was a shortage of the vaccine.
‘The delivery from one supplier is delayed by one or two weeks and this should have no impact on the flu vaccination programme overall,’ a spokesperson said.
The UK largest flu vaccine provider Sanofi said ‘at present’ it does not ‘foresee any supply issues.’
‘We expect about 40% of total UK ordered volumes to be delivered by Friday 17th September,’ they added.
Similarly, another manufacturer, Mylan, confirmed today (7 September) it has not experienced any delays and does not expect to be affected by any and that ‘deliveries are going ahead as planned.’
A spokesperson for AstraZeneca — who provides the vaccines for children under 18 — said that delays are, and would ‘not be an issue.’
‘We supply vaccines directly to NHS England, orders have been opened and are being centrally managed by NHS England,’ they said.
People aged 50 to 64 are eligible for a free vaccination again next season, having been included for the first time in 2020 – meaning that 36 million people are now eligible.
Earlier this year, the minister for primary care, Jo Churchill, said that community pharmacies should deliver more flu vaccines this autumn than in 2020/21, while also ‘significantly’ contributing to the Covid booster programme.
Figures from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) show community pharmacies alone vaccinated 2,617,628 during the 2020/21 programme, over one million more than the sector achieved in the entire flu season the year before.
Back in May, The Pharmacist learned that one of the UK’s key suppliers of flu vaccines is anticipating ‘reduced availability’ of QIVe flu vaccine to pharmacy wholesalers this winter.
Sanofi – which supplies vaccines for under 65s and at-risk groups – said that this was due to ‘an increase in global demand’, following recent cohort announcements for the 2021/22 season.