As pharmacists in the U.K. reportedly turn seniors away from receiving Seqirus' Fluad because of short supplies, company officials say there isn't a shortage. Instead, they say, deliveries will be staggered over several months in advance of the peak season.
U.K. officials this year recommend Seqirus' adjuvanted flu vaccine Fluad for people 65 and older, and now the company is in the midst of a phased distribution plan. It's shipping 40% of its supply in September, 20% in October and 40% in the first part of November.
All in all, Seqirus is distributing about 10 million doses of the vaccine in the U.K. this season, a spokesperson said. She said it's an "unprecedented level of supply" for the age group compared with previous seasons.
“So far we have delivered over 5 million doses to more than 8,500 GP practices and pharmacies and remain on track to ship remaining doses by mid-November as planned, so that vaccinations can be completed before influenza activity begins to increase in December," she said.
In response to questions about the supply situation, England's pharmacy minister Steve Brine on Monday wrote that there isn't a shortage. Physician practices and clinics are responsible for ordering flu shots, and the government contacted them in February recommending they order the vaccines.
Flu activity typically doesn't increase in the U.K. until December, so the phased distribution should allow seniors to get their shots in time for the season, the government said in an August document.
Despite Brine's insistence that there isn't a shortage, pharmacists have said they're turning away some patients, according to The Pharmaceutical Journal. One pharmacist told the publication her pharmacy has had to refuse 20 patients per day.