Intended for healthcare professionals


Flu vaccine shortages: NHS England must improve planning to avoid a repeat of this year’s delays

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 29 October 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4547
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. London, UK

The BMA and flu vaccine suppliers have urged NHS England (NHSE) to ensure any changes to the flu programme in the future are made much earlier and communicated better to GPs to avoid a repeat of the problems seen this year.

Some practices have had to cancel or rearrange clinics and direct some priority elderly patients to other providers because of late changes to the vaccine recommended to over 65 year olds this year. The vaccine for those over 65 is only available from one manufacturer and requires an unusual staggered delivery schedule.

In previous years, those older than 65 and younger at risk groups have been given the same vaccine. However, data from Public Health England have shown that the usual vaccine used in the UK is much less effective in the …

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