Influenza vaccine supply faces delays
Author: Mark Gould
Sanofi Pasteur, one of the NHS’s main suppliers, has written to GPs warning that flu vaccine supplies will be delayed by two weeks.
The hold-up involves the vaccine which people aged 16 to 65 and also pregnant women were due to start receiving next month.
Sanofi Pasteur, which supplies about a third of the 3 million jabs administered by GP practices every year in England, has written to surgeries to alert them to the delay. It is understood that manufacturing and packaging problems are the cause of the hold-up.
In its letter seen by The Guardian*, the firm says 60% of surgeries that were due to receive the first of three planned deliveries of the vaccine in the week beginning 7 October will still do so. However, 25% will not get their deliveries until a week later and 15% will have to wait two weeks, until the week beginning 21 October.
But, the letter adds, deliveries of the second batch of supplies due to start arriving at hospitals and GP practices in the weeks beginning 14 and 21 October respectively will also be delayed, again by one or two weeks.
“Impact on second deliveries: 100% of second deliveries delayed”, it says.
Delivery of the third and final supplies, due at hospitals from 4 November and GP practices from 18 November, “remains unchanged at this current time”, the letter adds.
This is the second delay to supplies of Sanofi’s quadrivalent influenza vaccine that it planned to deliver to the NHS this autumn. The first hold-up occurred in July as a result of the World Health Organisation taking longer than expected to decide which strains of flu this winter’s jab should cover.