Hundreds of pharmacies across London received their Fluad adjuvanted trivalent vaccinations three weeks after GP surgeries in the same areas received theirs, according to Rekha Shah, pharmacy vaccination services lead for the city's local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs).
GP practices received their Fluad deliveries in the “first or second week of September” from Seqirus, the sole manufacturer of the only vaccine pharmacies are allowed to give patients aged over 65 this season. But the majority of pharmacies in London received their orders around September 24, Ms Shah told C+D exclusively last month (September 21).
Pharmacies lose “credibility” and patients' “confidence” if they have to turn away individuals requesting flu jabs, Ms Shah added.
She estimated that “less than 5%” of pharmacies in London received their Fluad vaccines on time. Those that did not receive their orders were “horrified” to hear GP practices “had got them really early”, she claimed.
Seqirus: “As equitable as possible”
Seqirus told C+D that it is “taking as equitable an approach as possible to deliveries, given the logistics involved”.
The manufacturer received orders from 295 pharmacies in the London area, and “approximately 200” received their first shipment by September 17, it explained.
“The remaining 95 pharmacies received their first shipment in the week of September 24,” it added (see Seqirus’ full response below).
“Confusion for patients”
Mayank Patel, superintendent pharmacist of London-based group Pearl Chemist, claimed all its 14 branches received their main Fluad orders three weeks later than nearby GP practices.
This caused “confusion for patients”, who “should have a choice where they want to get vaccinated” between GP practices and pharmacies, Mr Patel said last week (October 4).
“I don’t think there’s equity this year. GP surgeries have been treated more favourably.”
Seqirus told C+D that it now expects to deliver nearly “10 million doses [of Fluad] across the UK”, which is “an unexpected and unprecedented level of supply and an enormous undertaking”.
“We fully appreciate the critical role played by all immunisation providers in delivering the UK influenza vaccination programme each season.
“As at the end of September, we’ve supplied more than four million doses of Fluad to over 8,500 GP practices and pharmacies across the UK as planned, and remain on track to fulfil October and November orders as scheduled,” Seqirus stressed.