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a vaccine imageFebruary 8 2018

NHS England has issued its guidance on ordering flu vaccines for the 2018-19 flu season. 

Following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and from Public Health England, NHS England is advising that “for the 2018-19 winter season, GP practices and community pharmacy providers should offer:

  • The adjuvanted trivalent vaccine (aTIV) for all 65s and over. Given aTIV was only licensed for use in the UK in August 2017, this was not an option for the 2017-18 season. However, the JCVI has now provided its advice given the receipt of its UK licence.
  • The quadrivalent vaccine (QIV) for 18 – under 65s at risk. In light of an independent cost-effectiveness study into QIV undertaken by PHE and considered by JCVI, the Green Book was updated in October 2017 to provide the advice that QIV is the best option for 18-65 at-risk groups in the 2018-19 season.”

The letter also tells clinical commissioning groups that “local guidance on vaccine ordering should mirror this expert clinical advice and any local CCG guidance contrary to this should be immediately withdrawn.”

GPs and community pharmacy contractors are being asked to “review all orders (provisional and firm) for the 2018-19 season and ensure these are in line with the evidence-based clinical view ie 65 year olds and over to receive aTIV, and under 65s in at risk groups, including pregnant women, to receive QIV for the 2018-19 flu season.”

Orders for the vaccine will need to be placed by March 29 2018.

The RCGP has asked for additional information from NHS England for those practices that had already started ordering vaccines for 2018-19.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, RCGP Chair, said: “We look to NHS England and Public Health England – and equivalent bodies in the devolved nations – for advice when we are ordering vaccines for the next flu season. We’re pleased that we now have definitive guidance from NHS England, and we hope this will build confidence amongst patients and encourage greater take-up, particularly for those in at-risk groups.

“Getting this guidance right is important, and we understand that this might take time – and that new developments based on very recent experiences might build on or alter existing advice.

“However, some GP practices will have already started their preparedness planning for next year’s flu season based on existing advice, including ordering vaccines. We would look to NHS England for advice for these practices about what to do about their influenza vaccines orders, particularly if any current plans are not aligned with today's updated guidance.”

Links:
NHS England letter (gateway reference: 07648)
RCGP statement          

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