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Wholesalers braced for spikes in flu vaccine demand

BAPW could act as a broker between pharmacists and wholesalers if England's national flu service results in local vaccine shortages, says chief executive Martin Sawer


Wholesalers have urged pharmacists delivering England's national flu service to get in contact when they anticipate spikes in vaccine demand.

The British Association of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (BAPW) is prepared to “move product around the country overnight if there’s a clinical need”, executive director Martin Sawer told C+D.

The representative body has the ability to act as a broker between several wholesalers and local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) in areas experiencing high vaccine demand due to the national service scheduled to rollout this month, Mr Sawer told C+D last week (September 3).

The BAPW does not want to “stand in the way” of pharmacists’ existing relationships with their chosen wholesaler, but is “happy to help under more extreme circumstances”, he said.

“If they feel vaccine levels are getting too low or lots of [patients] in at-risk groups need vaccines, then please get in touch with the BAPW and we will be able to put them in touch with all the wholesalers at once,” Mr Sawer said.

The organisation has learned from previous flu vaccine programmes in London and Manchester, where the BAPW held conference calls with pharmacy groups to ensure their members remained stocked, he added.

In August, LPCs expressed concerns that the flu service could be delayed until October due to unresolved “operational questions”. Manufacturers assured C+D later in the month that they were on track to deliver the vaccines to pharmacies in September.

How prepared are you for the flu season?

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