Children's Nasal Flu Vaccine Deliveries Delayed

Nicky Broyd

November 07, 2019

Public Health England (PHE) is telling GPs to prioritise at-risk under-18s for this year's nasal flu vaccine due to a delay in supplies from the manufacturer of around a quarter of the overall amount of vaccine ordered by the NHS. 

AstraZeneca advised PHE that some batches of Fluenz Tetra (Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine - LAIV) due to arrive this month will be delayed.

GPs have been asked to give priority to:

  • Under-18s in at-risk groups, followed by

  • Younger children aged 2 and 3

PHE says some schools will have to reschedule their flu vaccine clinics planned for the middle of this month. Parents of at-risk children are being asked to contact their GP if their child’s school vaccination is delayed.

The children's programme started last month and PHE said the majority of this year’s flu vaccine had already been released.

Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE head of immunisation at Public Health England, said in a statement: "We are working with AstraZeneca and NHS England and Improvement to ensure that all eligible children get their flu vaccine as soon as possible. Children who have underlying medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to flu will be prioritised by GPs first."

PHE stressed the delay is not related to any safety or efficacy issues and flu jabs are not affected.

Laurent Abuaf, AstraZeneca country president UK said: "We realise how important it is to deliver a full supply of vaccine to the NHS and are doing everything possible to minimise the delay of these affected batches."

He explained: "As part of our normal product release process, we need to repeat some tests before a portion of our vaccine supply can be released and delivered. It is paramount that all batches complete the testing process before they can be supplied, and we are working as fast as possible to achieve this. We are committed to working in partnership with Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care to support the earliest possible delivery of all the nasal spray vaccine needed for the NHS childhood seasonal flu immunisation programme."

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