Shortage of flu vaccines due to high demand

UNPRECEDENTED demand for influenza vaccines has resulted in a short-term shortage.

A nurse preparing to give a patient a vaccine (28850332)
A nurse preparing to give a patient a vaccine (28850332)

More than 21,000 vaccinations have been issued across the Bailiwick. This includes nearly 10,000 vaccines to those aged 65 and over.

A Health & Social Care spokesman confirmed that this was significantly above previous years.

‘[It] shows our community are continuing to come together to help protect health and care services through the winter period,’ he said.

‘This unprecedented uptake has, however, made the campaign a victim of its own success with all initial orders allocated.’

Anyone who has already booked an appointment at a flu clinic will receive their vaccine as scheduled.

HSC has contacted primary care providers and pharmacists to establish what stocks of vaccine they have remaining. This will enable vaccines to be redistributed if they can be used elsewhere, rather than providers stockpiling reserves.

Over recent months, HSC says it has taken steps to secure as many vaccines as possible for vulnerable cohorts, but this has been difficult given international demand.

‘It is, however, usual for manufacturers to stagger deliveries of the vaccine and this year is no different,’ the spokesman said.

‘HSC is expecting further deliveries of the vaccines for those aged 18-64 next week. There is not, however, a further delivery of vaccinations for those aged 65 and over planned at this stage.

‘As soon as the level required has been established, HSC will endeavour to secure a further order.’

Free or reduced cost vaccinations were offered to healthcare workers, children from two and up to Year 7, those in clinical risk groups, pregnant women, those aged 65 years and over, those in long-stay residential care homes, carers, close contacts of immuno-compromised individuals and health and social care staff employed by a registered residential care/nursing home, home care provider or a voluntary managed hospice provider.

In addition, flu vaccinations were offered to individuals aged 50 to 64 – once the priority cohorts listed above have been delivered – via primary care flu vaccination clinics. In order to encourage high take-up levels, the States of Guernsey agreed individuals in this cohort would receive the vaccine at a reduced cost.

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