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Influenza: Vaccination

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 24 July 2007, Official Report, columns 982-3W, on Influenza: Vaccination, what form the ongoing programme of public engagement will take; whether criteria determining the priority in which different groups of people are offered (a) vaccines, (b) antivirals and (c) other clinical interventions will be subjected to formal consultation; how often he expects these criteria to be reviewed; and if he will make a statement. (154216)

Work continues on the design of a public engagement programme in accordance with the timetable set out in the previous written answer.

Between March and May 2007 the Government consulted on the draft ‘Ethical framework for the response to pandemic influenza’, which provides an ethical framework for policy and planning decisions relating to pandemic influenza, including the prioritisation of clinical countermeasures. The final version of this document will be published with the final ‘National Framework for responding to an influenza pandemic’ in the autumn. While the ethical principles underlying issues such as prioritisation can be considered in advance, their implications would have to be reviewed in light of emerging scientific developments and/or other information available at the time of a pandemic.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure an adequate supply of seasonal flu vaccines for the winter 2007-08 flu immunisation programme; what discussions he has had with flu vaccine manufacturers on their capacity to supply adequate stocks of vaccine; which manufacturers are supplying vaccine to the UK; what information he has received about flu vaccine manufacturers encountering difficulties in (a) manufacturing and (b) delivering vaccines; and if he will make a statement. (156414)

The Department meets with representatives from UK Vaccine Industry Group (UVIG) each year to discuss flu vaccine requirements for the United Kingdom. On 24 July 2007, Professor David Salisbury, Director of Immunisation, wrote to the profession saying that over 15 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine would be available for distribution in the UK.

Suppliers of flu vaccine to the UK for 2007-08 are Sanofi Pasteur MSD, Novartis Vaccines, GlaxoSmithKline, MASTA, Solvay and Wyeth vaccines.

The profession were alerted to the minor delays in distribution of vaccine from GSK and Novartis in the August and September edition of “Vaccine Update” respectively. Supply of flu vaccine to surgeries has already commenced.