In planning for this year’s flu season approximately 414,000 doses of seasonal flu vaccine were distributed to GP practices and HSC Trusts. This included additional vaccines for GPs to meet any further increase in demand from patients in at-risk groups, over and above the highest rates ever previously recorded. In addition, 400,000 H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines were held in readiness to supplement the vaccination programme, if needed.
Commenting on the current position regarding supplies, Dr. Richard Smithson, Consultant in Health Protection, PHA said;
“There is no shortage of a safe and effective vaccine to protect people in at-risk groups against swine flu. If you are in an ‘at-risk’ group and haven’t yet been vaccinated, it’s still not too late – contact your GP and they will arrange vaccination. Pregnant women in particular, no matter what stage of pregnancy, should get vaccinated, even if they received the swine flu vaccine last year. GPs and Trusts will continue to use any seasonal flu vaccine that they still have, and as planned, we will use the large stock of H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine to meet any further demand.”
The flu vaccination programme is normally completed mostly by end of November, but this year, with the increase in flu in December, demand has continued. Up to date figures for the number of vaccines given in December 2010
will be available from 21 January 2011.
Guidance on who should be vaccinated, and the arrangements for vaccination, is available on the DHSSPS and PHA websites. A link from the PHA homepage is available to the fluaware webpages. PHA staff are also available to advise health professionals on vaccination and can be contacted through the usual channels for health protection advice.