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Uproar as PCT brands GPs for 'poor' quality framework performance ­ Nerys Hairon reports

The spectre has been raised of another winter of flu vaccine shortages after the manufacturer at the centre of last year's supply crisis warned it would be unable to meet its own production targets this year.

Chiron said this week that 'delays in ramping up to full production' at its Liverpool factory meant it would be able to produce only 18-26 million doses of Fluvirin in time for the 2005/6 flu season ­ compared with the 25 to 30 million doses it had forecast.

Chiron is a major supplier to the US market as well as to UK GPs. The suspension of its manufacturing licence for its Liverpool plant by the MHRA last October left a UK shortfall of 2.4 million doses, forcing GPs to find other supplies.

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