Winter flu vaccine programme ‘cannot fail’ says College in response to delivery delays

Reacting to the news that supplies of winter flu vaccine might be delayed for up to two weeks, Dr Gary Howsam, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “This is news we really didn’t want to hear. With over 36 million people eligible for the flu vaccine on the NHS this year, GPs need the supply chain to run like clockwork. They are already under enormous pressure and still waiting for details of how the Covid booster campaign will align with everything else they need to do this winter.

“Practices plan meticulously each year to deliver the flu vaccination programme on a mass scale and it is essential that as many people as possible in at-risk groups get their vaccination as early into the flu season as possible.

“A delay of even a couple of weeks is going to have a big impact on practices and their patients, especially when GPs are already dealing with the fallout caused by the shortage of blood test bottles and the anxiety this is causing.

“Public confidence in vaccines is running high as a result of the success of the Covid programme and we must not lose that confidence from our patients.

“General practice and the entire NHS are dependent on the smooth roll-out of the winter flu vaccination programme. It cannot fail.”

Further information

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Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.