GP surgeries in England continue to experience delays in the delivery of influenza vaccines – weeks after the government played down fears of a disruption to the country’s flu program amid a nationwide shortage of lorry drivers.
GPs in Reading and West Suffolk have recently been forced to cancel vaccination appointments due to delays, telling patients that “the situation is completely out of our control”.
Manufacturers have assured the government that they have enough staff and fuel stock to deliver flu vaccines as planned, Granthshala have been reported, but some surgeries are still waiting to receive their supplies.
A GP in West Suffolk told his patients earlier this week that it was “one of thousands of surgeries affected nationwide” by delivery issues and delays – “up to 12 months before our delivery date is guaranteed Despite ordering our vaccines”.
“As a result, our vaccine will not arrive on time for the clinic you were booked in … This situation is completely out of our control,” the surgery said, adding that it has no option but to cancel its appointments. Was.
Sekirus, one of the UK’s largest suppliers of seasonal flu vaccines, said in early September that a shortage of HGV drivers was expected to push back delivery of doses by two jobs.
It is unclear whether the continued delays reported in parts of the country are linked to “unforeseen road freight challenges” initially faced by Sekirus, or whether other vaccine manufacturers are similarly trying to complete their deliveries. are fighting for.
After alerting the government to the challenges, Sekirus has “redrawn” its delivery plans and now estimates that more than 85 percent of vaccines for England and Wales will be available in GP clinics and pharmacies by the end of October. will be distributed, a spokesperson for the manufacturer said. The remaining doses are scheduled to be delivered in November.
In Reading, GPs have told patients that they will now have to wait two more weeks to receive their winter flu jab, after initial hopes that a supply of the vaccine will be available for administration by the end of September.
Balmore Park Surgery in Caversham said delays in road transport meant that its rollout was pushed back from 25 September to 9 October. “Please accept our apologies for the delay but this is really out of our control,” said the GP, as reported chronicle reading.
Another surgery, at Tilehurst, said it also hopes to begin giving flu vaccine doses on October 9 after delivery is “unfortunately … again delayed”.
An NHS source said the situation remained “difficult” in parts of England and would require monitoring as they go forward.
Lorry driver shortage and delayed deliveries are expected to impact plans to vaccinate people with flu jab and COVID booster at the same time.
With 50 million booster jabs and more than 30 million flu shots offered to eligible groups in the coming weeks, the government hoped to co-administer these vaccines to speed up the rollout and ensure that people get access quickly. Be protected in winter as soon as possible. .
However, the Joint Committee on Immunization and Immunization said earlier this month that a dual approach could be “subject to” [the] Availability” of both vaccines and, in some cases, may not be practical.
Dr Rajeka Lazarus, principal investigator for the ComFlukov study, which looked at the safety of co-administration of flu and COVID vaccines, said “we need to avoid delays in the rollout of vaccines” because you haven’t received a delivery. one or the other”.
“If you have the flu vaccine now, but you haven’t had a COVID vaccine for a month, the guidance is not to delay,” she told a science briefing on Thursday.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /