GPs are now able to order a flu vaccine temporarily licensed by the MHRA to plug gaps in vaccine stock.
Last month, the MHRA granted Flublok – a quadrivalent influenza vaccine from Sanofi that has been used widely in the US – a temporary licence for use in the UK.
It followed a change in legislation which also means the MHRA will be able to approve a yet-to-be-licensed Covid-19 vaccine for UK use.
A Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokesperson today confirmed to Pulse that GPs can now order Flublok for delivery under the flu vaccination programme as of 20 November.
Recently updated GP guidance on accessing the Government’s centrally supplied flu vaccines said that the ‘majority’ of additional flu stock made available to practices has been ordered.
However, it added that GPs can order Flublok instead to vaccinate patients under 65 years old.
The guidance said: ‘The initial allocation of QIVe and QIVc which was allocated to GP practices has now been ordered by them. In response to this demand, there have additional allocations of QIVe and QIVc for GP practices, however the majority of this additional allocation has now been ordered.
‘If GP practices need further stock, they are able to order Adjuvanted Trivalent Influenza Vaccine (aTIV) for those over 65 years old or Flublok for those under 65 years old.’
There is ‘good availability’ of both Flublok and aTIV stock and the first deliveries of Flublok to the DHSC are expected from this week, it added.
Practices should use the ‘recommended licenced vaccine for the relevant groups’ outlined in the flu DES ‘where possible’, the guidance said.
It added: ‘However, Flublok is suitable to use as an alternative for those aged 18 years to 64 years if the recommended licenced vaccines QIVc and QIVe are not available, and for 65 years and over, if the recommended licenced vaccines aTIV or QIVc are not available.’
Flublok does not come with needles so practices ‘may need to order needles’ to support their use of the vaccine, the DHSC said.
It comes as the Government announced on Friday that GP practices will deliver free flu jabs to patients aged 50-64 from 1 December.
Pulse reported in August that the Government was looking at Flublok as a means to boost vaccine supplies.