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Flu vaccine orders “to be centralised”


22 January 2011

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Ordering flu vaccines could be brought under central control after a "mismatch" in supplies this winter left some areas with a shortage and others with a surplus.

The Government's director of immunisation, Professor David Salisbury, has said there is a "pretty compelling" case for moving responsibility away from GPs to central control and health minister Earl Howe said the idea is being considered.


Ordering flu vaccines could be brought under central control after a “mismatch” in supplies this winter left some areas with a shortage and others with a surplus.

The Government’s director of immunisation, Professor David Salisbury, has said there is a “pretty compelling” case for moving responsibility away from GPs to central control and health minister Earl Howe said the idea is being considered.

Mr Howe’s comments come after the Government had to release stocks of last winter’s swine flu vaccine to cover demand for this year’s seasonal flu jab, although ministers insist there are sufficient supplies to cover England.

At question time in the Lords, Lord Howe said: “Almost all vaccines, excepting seasonal flu vaccines, are procured centrally.

“Central procurement does provide a cost-effective arrangement and can take account of the variations in supply and demand.

“It also gives us the ability to track where the batches of vaccine have gone. So, we are looking at taking into the Department of Health the procurement of the seasonal flu vaccine.”

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Department of Health

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