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GP practices should use ‘own flu stock’ to deliver expanded programme, says DHSC

by Costanza Pearce
27 July 2020

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GPs should use the flu stock they have already ordered to deliver this year’s expanded flu programme in the first instance, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has told Management in Practice’s sister publication, Pulse. 

It comes as the Government on Friday (24 July) announced the expanded cohort, 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.

It also comes as the Government said it has secured a ‘central stock’ of flu vaccines in preparation for the additional groups added to the cohort eligible for free jabs as well as an expected increase in uptake.

However, a spokesperson told Pulse that GPs are responsible for ordering the vaccination stock needed for their eligible adult population directly from manufacturers and should use the locally-procured stock they have already ordered to deliver the programme in the first instance.

Information on how to access the additional central stock will be provided in September, it added.

The DHSC also clarified that the expanded cohort means up to 37m people will be eligible for the free flu vaccination this season – an increase of 12m compared to the 25m eligible last year.

The Government is anticipating that 30m will be vaccinated this year thanks to increased take-up and the expanded cohort – compared with around 15m in 2019/20 – it added.

A spokesperson told Pulse that the DHSC believes it has sufficient vaccines to meet demand, accounting for the expectation that not all those eligible will come forward.

However, GPs have already expressed fears over ‘unprecedented’ flu vaccine shortages.

And Pulse revealed last week that one of the UK’s key suppliers of flu vaccines will not be able to get almost a third of ordered stock to GP practices until November. 

There are no details as yet about payment mechanisms for GPs administering the vaccines, supply issues or around what stage of the year it will be delivered to patients aged between 50 and 64.

A version of this story was first published by our sister title Pulse.