Across this patient group, 39.4% had received a flu jab this season by October 21, compared with 53.7% by the same date in 2017, according to data from Public Health England’s (PHE) weekly national influenza report published yesterday (November 1).
Uptake was down by 2 percentage points among under-65s and by 1 percentage point among pregnant women, according to PHE.
PHE “monitoring the situation carefully”
PHE told C+D it is “monitoring the situation carefully” and expects “the coverage to catch up over the next few weeks as more stock is delivered”.
“It is important that those eligible are protected before flu starts to circulate, usually in late December,” PHE head of immunisation Mary Ramsay said.
Ms Ramsay advised pharmacies without stock to inform patients that the vaccine will be available “over the next few weeks” and book them in for a future clinic.
Contractors raised concerns in August about limited supplies and phased deliveries of the adjuvanted trivalent vaccine (aTIV) vaccine, Fluad, the only vaccine pharmacies in England are allowed to offer over-65s this flu season.
In guidance sent to surgeries and pharmacies in September, NHS England said GPs and pharmacies are expected to “move stock between locations” to ensure both the aTIV and quadrivalent flu vaccines are distributed to “reflect actual demand”.