Many flu jab appointments should be rescheduled due to a two-week delay within the supply of the vaccines to GPs.
Seqirus, the most important supplier of flu vaccines to the UK, confirmed maintain ups of as a lot as a fortnight in England and Wales, blaming “unexpected challenges linked with street freight delays”.
The agency despatched a letter advising practices to not rebook appointments till a brand new supply date is confirmed, GP on-line reported.
The correspondence didn’t clarify whether or not the delays have been associated to the scarcity of lorry drivers that has led to supermarkets operating out of sure items and a few quick meals retailers having to shut.
Shadow well being secretary Jonathan Ashworth mentioned: “GPs are at their wits’ finish, first pressured to cancel blood exams due to bottle shortages and now we study flu vaccines might be delayed.
“This has been a summer time of disaster for the NHS with sufferers paying the value.”
He mentioned ministers “should urgently get a grip” given the danger posed by the flu within the coming months.
A Seqirus spokesperson mentioned the corporate is “working exhausting to resolve the delay to permit clients to reschedule their influenza vaccination clinics”.
Dr Richard Vautrey, British Medical Affiliation GP committee chairman, mentioned the problem will most likely have an effect on a “important proportion” of practices.
He mentioned: “Many practices may have spent the previous couple of days and weeks meticulously planning for his or her flu vaccination programme, inviting and reserving sufferers in for his or her jabs, solely now to must contact all of them once more to cancel or reschedule appointments.
“This causes an enormous enhance in employees’s already unsustainable workloads, and inconvenience and unneeded nervousness for sufferers who might be eager to be protected forward of winter.”
He mentioned it’s “extremely regarding” that the delay seems to be stemming from points round freight transportation, not in contrast to the scarcity of blood check bottles reported final month.
“We should ask the federal government precisely what it’s doing to urgently tackle this,” he added.
The seasonal flu programme in England started this month, with the well being secretary touting it as the largest within the nation’s historical past.
Sajid Javid urged everybody eligible to get the vaccine, which might be made out there to greater than 35 million folks without spending a dime.
For the primary time, these eligible will embody all secondary college pupils as much as 12 months 11 – kids aged 15 and 16.
The goal for 2021 is nearly double the quantity of jabs that have been administered final winter amid issues in regards to the mixed impression of flu and COVID-19 this winter.
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