Last reviewed 13 October 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published guidance for primary care providers in England on how they can access an additional stock of flu vaccines this winter.

The DHSC confirmed that it has secured an additional supply of flu vaccines to support the expanded vaccination programme this winter. Stock will arrive from early November onwards to top up local supplies when they run low.

General practices will be able to order from this stock from 18 October through NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) commissioners. They are being told that they can only order vaccines for approved cohorts who are eligible as part of the public programme, and there is a minimum order quantity of 50 doses.

They are being asked to check if there is a need for more flu vaccines by “assessing current uptake rates in eligible cohorts (taking into account booked clinics) including registered patients vaccinated elsewhere”, and calculating the amount needed to vaccinate those outstanding patients compared with the practice's current vaccine supply and orders yet to be delivered.

This information should be given to the appropriate NHSEI Regional Public Health Commissioning Team together with advice on current levels of stock and including other relevant details such as the practice’s delivery model or potential vaccination of unregistered eligible populations in care homes or hard to reach groups. This is because orders may need to be prioritised.

Regional NHSEI Public Health Commissioning Teams will coordinate across local areas on what stock is needed to meet demand, with allocations already made for each region based on population sizes.

Vaccine manufacturers will confirm the orders including the delivery address, then advise on expected delivery times.

Community pharmacies are being asked to purchase additional stock directly via wholesalers, so should continue to order from wholesalers throughout the season as they usually do.