Work is underway to minimise any potential disruption to the free childhood Fluenz Tetra flu immunisation caused by a delivery delay on the manufacturer’s side to some batches of a nasal spray flu vaccine.
The vaccines are due to arrive next month and the potential delay is due to issues relating to routine testing of by the manufacturer and is not related to the safety or the efficacy of the vaccine.
Scotland’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said:
“The SNP Government is aware there is likely to be a delay in obtaining a proportion of the Fluenz Tetra children’s vaccine, which is procured by Public Health England on behalf of all of the UK.
“We have been exploring how to best use the available stock based on evidence and clinical advice and I have written to Health Protection Scotland and NHS Board Coordinators asking them to prioritise children with eligible health conditions and the two to five-year-old programme, similar to other parts of the UK.
“The school vaccination programme is currently continuing as normal. However, should there be the expected disruption to supply, it could lead to vaccinations in some primary schools being rescheduled.
“NHS Board areas are currently working to do that based on the projections we are receiving on the revised delivery schedule. Whilst this is unfortunate, it is completely outwith our control and we would continue to urge eligible people to be vaccinated as we know this is the best way to protect against the flu.
“This does not impact the adult flu programme.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“While the delay is unfortunate, I would encourage parents and carers across North Ayrshire to ensure their children are vaccinated against the flu when the supplies arrive in Scotland, which is expected to happen in November.
“Getting your children vaccinated is free and only takes a few minutes – but it helps to protect against the flu bug for around a year – which not only keeps your children healthy but also reduces pressures on NHS Ayrshire & Arran.”
The following groups are eligible for the SNP Government’s annual free flu vaccine programme:
Children aged 2-11 years old. 2-5 year olds and not yet in school will be vaccinated at their GP practice. 5-11 year olds will be vaccinated at school during the autumn term. Children must be aged 2 on 1st September 2019.
Those over 6 months of age with a medical condition which puts them in an 'at risk' group such as diabetes, heart or kidney disease, and breathing problems. For a full list of health conditions, see NHS Inform.
Pregnant women (including those with at risk health conditions).
Those aged 65 years of age and over.
NHS Scotland workers.