Some flu vaccine supplies delayed until December...
Some practices will have to wait until the start of December before receiving supplies of flu vaccine for this year's campaign.
GPs were warned in June that there had been problems in the vaccine manufacturing process, but the UK Vaccine Industry Group this week set out details of the delays.
The problems raise the prospect some GPs will have to resort to weekend clinics, or be forced to vaccinate at-risk patients late in the flu season.
The group said the majority – 80 to 90 per cent – of vaccines would be delivered in October or November, but 'fairly well spread' over both months. A spokesperson admitted: 'There may be some who won't get anything until later on – until the end of November or early December.'
Dr Douglas Fleming, a member of the influenza subgroup of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, warned the delays could cause real problems.
'Ideally flu vaccine should be administered certainly by the end of November. A fortnight doesn't matter very much but more than four weeks does.
'This could be quite significant if we had an early flu pandemic.'
The group said GPs would get details of their supplies this month.