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HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 1 December 2021

Media Coverage

HDA: Pharmacy access to flu jab stock could be delayed in parts of England
Chemist + Druggist, Eliza Loukou, 30 November 2021

The Chemist + Druggist reports that HDA Chief Executive, Martin Sawer, has said that pharmacies in parts of England could experience delayed access to flu vaccine stocks, despite there being “sufficient” supplies of the jab.

He said that wholesalers were not involved in direct discussions with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) while it was working to secure extra stock of influenza vaccines. This was a “lost opportunity to enable a more certain rapid uptake of this season’s flu vaccine”, as wholesalers’ involvement could have “eased any supply problems”.

“So, there might be individual pockets of the country where access could be delayed,” Mr Sawer warned. “We believe there are sufficient stocks of flu vaccines, but they need firm orders now to be supplied to community pharmacy.” However, calculating how much stock is needed for these orders can prove difficult, as pharmacies are not reimbursed for any vaccines they do not use, Mr Sawer added.

Reena Barai, owner of S G Barai Pharmacy, suggested that pharmacy teams under-estimated demand this year, contributing to some using up their stock by the middle of October. While she had problems accessing the flu vaccines earlier this month, as of last week, supplies have been easier to come by.

 

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today. 


Full Coverage

HDA: Pharmacy access to flu jab stock could be delayed in parts of England
Chemist + Druggist, Eliza Loukou, 30 November 2021

Pharmacies in parts of England could experience delayed access to flu vaccine stocks, despite there being “sufficient” supplies of the jabs, Healthcare Distribution Association (HDA) chief executive Martin Sawer has told C+D.

Mr Sawer complained that “wholesalers were not involved in direct discussions” with the DH while it was working to secure extra stock of influenza vaccines, which were made available to pharmacies in England in October and in Wales earlier this month.

This was a “lost opportunity to enable a more certain rapid uptake of this season’s flu vaccine”, as wholesalers’ involvement could have “eased any supply problems”, he said.

“So, there might be individual pockets of the country where access could be delayed,” Mr Sawer warned. “We believe there are sufficient stocks of flu vaccines, but they need firm orders now to be supplied to community pharmacy.”

A Department of Health and Social Care (DH) spokesperson told C+D yesterday (November 29) that there are “no national supply issues with flu vaccines”.

C+D has contacted the DH regarding Mr Sawer’s comments.

Pharmacies “tightly manage” last few weeks of flu jab season

It is typical for “the current time in late November” – almost three months into the flu vaccination season – for wholesalers to buy flu jab stock from manufacturers, based on “firm community pharmacy orders”, Mr Sawer told C+D.

But calculating how much stock is needed for these orders can prove difficult, as pharmacies are not reimbursed for any vaccines they do not use, Mr Sawer added.

Reena Barai, owner of the S G Barai Pharmacy in Sutton, told C+D last week that her pharmacy “tightly manages these last few weeks of the flu jab season as we don’t want to order more than we will use”.

She suggested that “many pharmacy teams probably under-estimated the demand this year”, which could have contributed to some using up their stocks by the middle of October.

Ms Barai said she had problems accessing flu vaccines earlier this month and was worried she would not have adequate stock for her pharmacy team to continue vaccinating patients.

“The extra supplies available from the DH didn’t become available until November”, she said, “so there was a lag time over which many wouldn’t have been able to vaccinate, potentially”. However, Ms Barai told C+D that supplies had been easier to come by as of last week, when their availability became “more transparent”.

C+D reported yesterday that Boots pharmacies are “nearing the end” of their flu vaccine stock for patients aged over 65.

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 1 December 2021

From Factory to Pharmacy

As part of our mission to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of the healthcare distribution sector, we developed an infographic explaining the availability of medicines. It identifies the factors that can impact drug supply, as well as the measures that HDA members undertake day in, day out to help mitigate the risks of patients not receiving their medicines.

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