Many flu jab appointments should be rescheduled due to a two-week delay within the supply of the vaccines to GPs.
Seqirus, the biggest supplier of flu vaccines to the UK, confirmed maintain ups of as a lot as a fortnight in England and Wales, blaming “unexpected challenges linked with highway freight delays”.
The agency despatched a letter advising practices to not rebook appointments till a brand new supply date is confirmed, GP on-line reported.
The correspondence didn’t clarify whether or not the delays had been associated to the shortage of lorry drivers that has led to supermarkets working out of sure items and a few quick meals shops having to shut.
Shadow well being secretary Jonathan Ashworth mentioned: “GPs are at their wits’ finish, first pressured to cancel blood assessments due to bottle shortages and now we be taught flu vaccines might be delayed.
“This has been a summer time of disaster for the NHS with sufferers paying the value.”
He mentioned ministers “should urgently get a grip” given the chance posed by the flu within the coming months.
A Seqirus spokesperson mentioned the corporate is “working onerous to resolve the delay to permit prospects to reschedule their influenza vaccination clinics”.
Dr Richard Vautrey, British Medical Affiliation GP committee chairman, mentioned the problem will in all probability have an effect on a “vital proportion” of practices.
He mentioned: “Many practices could have spent the previous few days and weeks meticulously planning for his or her flu vaccination programme, inviting and reserving sufferers in for his or her jabs, solely now to must contact all of them once more to cancel or reschedule appointments.
“This causes an enormous enhance in employees’s already unsustainable workloads, and inconvenience and unneeded anxiousness for sufferers who might be eager to be protected forward of winter.”
He mentioned it’s “extremely regarding” that the delay seems to be stemming from points round freight transportation, not in contrast to the scarcity of blood take a look at bottles reported final month.
“We should ask the federal government precisely what it’s doing to urgently handle this,” he added.
The seasonal flu programme in England started this month, with the well being secretary touting it as the most important within the nation’s historical past.
Sajid Javid urged everybody eligible to get the vaccine, which might be made obtainable to greater than 35 million individuals without cost.
For the primary time, these eligible will embrace all secondary faculty pupils as much as 12 months 11 – kids aged 15 and 16.
The goal for 2021 is sort of double the quantity of jabs that had been administered final winter amid considerations in regards to the mixed influence of flu and COVID-19 this winter.