Professor Paul Cosford, Medical Director at Public Health England said:
“We are proud to have the most extensive public flu vaccination programme in Europe including children. This year, children aged between 2 and 6 will be offered a nasal spray vaccine. We have significant vaccine stocks to do so, and healthcare providers will be able to order doses in the normal way from this evening.
“In recent days, AstraZeneca, the vaccine’s manufacturer, has informed us of a supply issue. Because some of the vaccine did not meet the strict licensing specifications, it will not be used.
“As with all of our vaccination programmes, we are using an established contingency plan and AstraZeneca are currently putting an alternative supply of the same vaccine from the US through European testing. Providing they meet the standards, these batches will be made available in the coming weeks.”
This relates to the children’s nasal spray flu vaccine only – most adults are vaccinated with a flu injection from a different manufacturer. All of the vaccine being administered meets our strict domestic standards.
To ensure that we can deliver our planned programme across the country in light of this supply issue, on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, we are temporarily pausing the whole-school pilot programme which is being trialled in primary schools in 6 areas across the country. We expect to reinstate this as soon as testing of the new supply has taken place.