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NHS England: Pharmacies had 'more than enough time' to order flu jabs

Manufacturer Seqirus said the final batch of Fluad vaccines will be delivered by the end of this week
Manufacturer Seqirus said the final batch of Fluad vaccines will be delivered by the end of this week

Pharmacies had “more than enough time” to order flu vaccines for over-65s this year, NHS England has said in response to ongoing shortage concerns.

Last month, Kate Adjei, manager at Nories Pharmacy in Horsham, West Sussex, told C+D she was having to turn patients away because her pharmacy had used all its stock of adjuvanted trivalent vaccine (aTIV) Fluad, the only vaccine pharmacies in England are allowed to offer over-65s.

A spokesperson for NHS England told C+D on Wednesday (November 14): “GPs and pharmacists had more than enough time to order the vaccine and were advised in March that they have a crucial role explaining to patients that there is enough vaccine supply available”.

Seqirus – the sole manufacturer of Fluad – told C+D this morning that the final batch of Fluad vaccines will be delivered “by the end of this week”.

“Our second and third phase deliveries included extra stock that we were able to make available, taking total supply of Fluad across the UK this season to 9.8 million doses,” Seqirus added.

PSNC raises concerns from contractors

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) director of services Alastair Buxton told C+D it is in “regular discussions” with NHS England, Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) in a working group discussing the Fluad vaccine.

The negotiator has “raised the feedback we have received from contractors and local pharmaceutical committees on the distribution of aTIV and the practical issues related to running the flu vaccination service this year”, Mr Buxton said.

“These discussions have led to various actions being taken by PHE and NHS England, including the issuing of an addendum to the flu vaccination service patient group direction and the development of a PHE leaflet for patients who need to return for aTIV at a later date,” he added.

Mr Buxton acknowledged the decision to use aTIV for over-65s had “led to complexity” in the delivery of the service this season, despite it being “clinically justifiable”.

“Community pharmacy teams are continuing to work hard to ensure that these difficulties do not reduce the ability of patients to get vaccinated and I thank them for their ongoing endeavours, which put the needs of the patients first.”

Has your pharmacy experienced flu vaccine shortages?

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Funny how, for next year, there will be three licenced vaccines for the over 65s. It makes you think they might be expecting the same thing to happen next year....

Stephen Kane, Community pharmacist

I registered for PSNC webinar on Flu service 2018-19 on 15/8/2018. it was cancelled with 24 hours notice because " the service was not fully commisioned by NHS England" according to the PSNC. I believe the service was not fully commisioned until 21/8/2018. 

Respect to colleagues who pre-ordered vaccines in March, using their own money for non-returnable stock, but with an uncommissioned service they were effectively gambling. The fault clearly lies with NHS Englands inability to commit to commissioning services from community Pharmacies.  




Interleukin -2, Community pharmacist

......This over 65 thing........mmmmh

A Patel, Locum pharmacist

Seqirus should offer a full and prompt refund on all unused vaccine then we would order more.

Sachin Badiani, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Any refunds for this shambles should be placed with NHS England and DoH. Not with the manufacturer, pharmacies, or surgeries.


We ordered enough, but unfortunately could not take into account one GP surgery not having stock.

NIRMAL BAJARIA, Superintendent Pharmacist

I have been trying to place an order for 2019-2020 season but still awaiting a confirmation e mail. Have been told there is a technical glitch in the records. Frustrating to say the least. NHSE must re think the distribution arrangements.

C A, Community pharmacist

You'll probably find the rules change for 2019/20

Stephanie Howell, Community pharmacist

Thankfully our ordering team were spot on but most surgeries locally have run out, even asked me could they buy some vaccines from us. I think we have all struggled this season. Something different needs To he done next year to ensure supply 

Farhat Ahmed, Locum pharmacist

With regards to the NHS England team in charge of flu jabs, how many members of the team are able to predict in March how many sheets of toilet roll they will need to wipe their backsides from September to the following March. If the answer is greater than zero I will be amazed. Equally in March I am unable to predict how many flu vaccinations I am going to administer to the over 65 group, normally I take a rough guess order the stock early on and then top up when necessary during the vaccination season, I should imagine that a lot of my colleagues work on the same basis. There has been NO TOP UP FACILITY this year. Is there anybody out there who managed to get extra stock from Seqirus, ie in addition to the stock ordered in March, I most certainly didn't even after making numerous phone calls requesting more stock from Seqirus. So where is this EXTRA stock that became available maybe Seqirus or NHSE should release information to show when this extra stock became available and how pharmacists were advised of the extra stock. I think that NHS England need to wake up to the fact that the flu season has been an ENORMOUS FIASCO. At one of my local surgeries,as soon as their stock from the first delivery of Fluad was finished they started vaccinating all over 65's with quad vaccine. How are NHS England dealing with this matter? Pharmacy log all vaccines on pharmoutcomes, can NHS England see on a particular platform what the doctors have been using, or is the BIG BROTHER approach only for us pharmacists? Most of us will have read the addendums, its okay to re vaccinate after one mistake but is the surgery really going to call hundreds of patients back in for another vaccnation, and who is footing the bill, are NHSE paying the surgery twice for the same patinet to have quad & then aTIV?


H W, Community pharmacist

Placing the orders wasn't the issue it's the delayed, unclear delivery schedules that have caused problems. Delays caused by NHSE and PHE changing their minds halfway through our normal ordering schedule and taking "yeah we'll have enough" as an acceptable answer from Seqiris.

When the service spec says we have to inject whenever a patient presents and we have the correct stock (to proivde the walk in, no appointment nature that patients love about the pharmacy service) then of course we're unable to properly prioritise and manage stock in the manner we have had to.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

I wonder if there is a mis-use of "shortage". If we believe NHSE that there is sufficient stock to meet demand, then there is no shortage. However, if you are unable to supply a patient when they ask for it, then that is surely one definition of "shortage". However you describe it, I think the one definition we can all agree on is "shambles"

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