The Government has announced new restrictions on the export of flu vaccine supplies, following a ‘global spike’ in demand.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the restrictions will ‘stop the exporting of medicines placed on the market to be used in the UK, which could cause future supply issues’.
The restrictions have been introduced in response to high demand for the flu vaccine from other countries, DHSC said, and will apply to the flu vaccines being used in the UK this winter.
It added that there remains ‘sufficient national supply of flu vaccine in the UK, with ‘deliveries to providers continuing over the coming months’.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘This action will protect our supply of flu vaccinations, as part of our plans to give 30 million the flu vaccine ahead of this unprecedented winter.’
In addition to the influenza vaccine, Anakinra has been added to the existing list of medicines restricted for export and hoarding.
Companies that export a medicine that is on the export restrictions list may face regulatory action from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), DHSC said.
It comes as NHS England has said GP practices should prepare to deliver flu jabs to eligible cohorts until February next year to ‘ensure all cohorts are covered’.
The recently updated FAQ document also said GP practices with concerns about vaccine stock should not prioritise the delivery of flu jabs but ensure they achieve uptake among all eligible cohorts.