Amid reports of pharmacies and GP practices having difficulties sourcing supplies of Fluad, the influenza vaccine licensed by NHS England for use in people aged 65 and over in the 2018-19 flu season, a spokesperson for the manufacturer has told Pharmacy Magazine that despite “processing challenges,” it is on track to deliver supplies according to its stated schedule and will seek to “identify any opportunities to bring additional doses of Fluad into the UK”.
A Seqirus spokesperson said the company had “processed more than 8,500 orders for Fluad from practices and pharmacies across the UK, totalling almost 9.3 million doses.”
Seqirus started its first phase of deliveries earlier this month, they said, and remains “on track to meet the timetable for all other phases as confirmed in our communications with customers."
The recommendation of Fluad for people aged 65 and over "represents a significant change to influenza vaccination this season," the spokesperson said, adding that the company is working to "introduce this new vaccine into the UK influenza vaccine programme as quickly and as smoothly as possible".
Commenting on reports of contractors and GPs struggling to source Fluad, the spokesperson said: "We experienced some processing challenges during the ordering period due to the sudden high volume of requests. However, we believe the majority of these issues have been resolved.”
The company has been "unable to fulfil late orders for Fluad due to high global demand," they said, but "based on previously reported influenza vaccination rates for people aged 65 years and older, and the total number of doses we will be supplying, there will be sufficient quantities of Fluad available across the UK to vaccinate this vulnerable population."
Furthermore, Seqirus “will continue to review our global supply chain to identify any opportunities to bring additional doses of Fluad into the UK,” they said.
The spokesperson did not disclose how many pharmacies and GPs were affected by the processing challenges they described when asked by PM.
PSNC recently told PM that it could not be certain whether "the reports we’ve had are representative of the sector as a whole" but stressed that it is monitoring the situation.