The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has urged the health secretary to assure practices that there are enough flu vaccines available in the system for this year’s programme, following reports of delays in deliveries.
In a letter sent to Matt Hancock, Professor Martin Marshall, RCGP chair, said the college has heard anecdotal reports that ‘some surgeries are waiting up to a month for replenished supply of vaccines’, and this has raised concerns over potentially ‘significant’ supply and distribution problems.
Similar reports have been coming from pharmacies and patient groups, he added.
Professor Marshall asked the Government to be ‘as transparent as possible about any shortages that may occur’, to ensure practices can react and plan accordingly.
Reassurances over flu vaccine stock is particularly necessary ‘as we approach winter’, Professor Marshall said, but ‘it will not be helpful for practices or acceptable to patients if current claims that there are no supply problems are exposed as overly-optimistic in coming months,’ he added.
Responding to concerns over vaccine shortages, a Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokesperson said: ‘There is no national shortage of the flu vaccine, with enough doses for 30 million people to be vaccinated in England.
‘The vaccine is already being delivered for those in at-risk groups, including the over-65s and this will continue throughout the winter months, so there is still time for those eligible people to get their vaccinations.’