Doctors postpone flu jab programme as drugs firm halts vaccine deliveries
GP surgeries across Derbyshire have been forced to postpone this autumn flu jab programme due to shortages of the vaccine.
Crucell, a pharmaceutical company based in the Netherlands, has suspended delivery of all supplies of its flu vaccine because of "an unexpected test result".
The company supplies 10% of the UK's flu vaccine stocks and the shortages are affecting about 15% of surgeries in Derby and Derbyshire.
A spokesman for Crucell said that supplies had been halted "voluntarily" by the company because of patient safety concerns following an unexpected test result on one batch. It did not say what this result was.
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Further tests are being conducted to investigate the cause before any further batches of vaccine are released.
The company is due to make a further announcement on the progress of production on Monday.
Flu affects millions of people every winter and poses a particular threat to people in certain high-risk groups, such as the over-65s, pregnant women, children and those with respiratory conditions.
People in those groups are invited to have a flu jab by the NHS every autumn.
Derek Ward, director of public health for NHS Derby City and NHS Derbyshire County, reassured patients that the flu jab programme would go ahead.
He said: "Everyone who needs their seasonal flu jab in Derby and Derbyshire can be assured they will receive it.
"Temporary supply problems experienced by vaccine manufacturer Crucell are affecting a small number of surgeries. GP practices in the county have already begun making the best use of resources by using alternative supplies, where available, and we will continue to work with public health colleagues to closely monitor the situation.
"Additional supplies are expected to be available within the remaining GP practices in Derby and Derbyshire by the beginning of November."
In January last year, half of the county's practices ran out of doses and private pharmacies struggled to replenish stocks.
Anyone in the target groups should contact their GP to book an appointment to have the jab. Further advice about the flu and its symptoms can be found at www.derbycitypct.nhs.uk or by calling 111.