To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many GP practices are using the flu vaccine that was supplied in winter 2017-18; and what guidance his Department has issued to GP practices on the use of that vaccine.
General practitioner (GP) practices are responsible for ordering flu vaccines for their eligible adult population directly from manufacturers. Last winter most adults were offered a trivalent influenza vaccine (TIV), with some offered a quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIV).
National Health Service guidance states that GP practices are not to use TIV vaccine as part of the NHS programme for 2018/19. NHS England wrote to GPs and community pharmacies in early February 2018 asking them to review all orders for the 2018/19 season and ensure these were in line with recommended vaccines.
For 2018/19, new recommendations were made about vaccines to offer to adults. For those aged 65 and over, providers were asked to offer a newly licenced adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine because it is a more effective vaccine for this age group. For those aged 18 to 64 years QIV was recommended as it offers protection against four strains of flu. There have been no changes in the recommended vaccine for the children’s programme this year.