Practices have been urged to share surplus stocks of the aTIV vaccine with others to ensure there is enough to go round.
Under normal circumstances, only licensed wholesalers can distribute vaccine stocks but the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confirmed that it will not ‘prevent supply’ between practices if the aTIV vaccine is in short supply or out of stock in one while another has excess stock.
However, a surgery holding excess stock must be able to provide assurance that it has maintained the cold chain, and can provide documentary evidence of temperature monitoring, and vaccines can be transported under the ‘right conditions’.
The manufacturer, Seqirus, has confirmed that it will be able to meet demand for the vaccine, but some practices had not had their September orders fulfilled.
In the event that supplies are not forthcoming, NHS England says QIV can be offered to patients over 65 ‘in exceptional circumstances as it will likely give important protection’.
If aTIV is not available, NHSE says the ‘first step is to signpost [patients over 65] to another provider where it is available’. In the ‘unlikely’ event that eventual demand nationally exceeds anticipated supply, practices should offer QIV to any remaining eligible patients.
You can read the full guidance at: https://cached.offlinehbpl.hbpl.co.uk/NewsAttachments/PGH/MHPRA_latest_flu_guidance.pdf