GPs are being told not to book clinics until a final delivery date had been confirmed.
If the country’s recovery from COVID19 wasn’t difficult enough, it has now emerged that the UK’s largest supplier of flu vaccines have confirmed that deliveries will be delayed.
Last week Seqirus – the UK’s largest supplier of flu vaccines – wrote to GPs asking them not to book clinics until a final delivery date had been confirmed with them.
Seqirus cluster head Helen Concilia told GPonline; “Due to unforeseen challenges linked with road freight delays, we have informed all our customers of a consequent delay to their scheduled vaccine delivery by a maximum of one to two weeks.”
Unforeseen road freight challenges
The delay in vaccine deliveries is rumoured to be linked to the national shortage of HGV drivers.
Earlier this month BBC news online reported “There is now a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK, out of a pre-pandemic total of about 600,000, a Road Haulage Association survey of its members estimates.”
Seqirus has confirmed that GP practices will receive a delivery note seven days prior to the new delivery date allowing practices to re-book clinics.
Practices should expect a final delivery confirmation two days prior to delivery.
Protected ahead of winter.
Responding to the news, Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chair, commented; “This causes a huge increase in staff’s already unsustainable workloads, and inconvenience and unneeded anxiety for patients who will be keen to be protected ahead of winter.’
It’s no surprise patients would be concerned, seeing as government records confirm that registered deaths resulting from influenza and pneumonia exceeded 19,000 in 2020.
Dr Vautrey also likened the similarity of the causes to those of the blood tube shortage, where there was only one main UK supplier, demanding “Ministers must act”.