The Department currently holds a strategic reserve of 400,000 doses of trivalent influenza vaccine for use during the 2011-12 flu season. This reserve is held in the event of uptake being exceeded and stocks no longer being available through the conventional supply chains.
Immunisers have therefore been asked to ensure that they have adequate supplies for the 2011-12 season to allow for a greater uptake than in previous years. GPs and other providers should have ordered sufficient flu vaccine for their clinical needs. Therefore, the stockpile is intended to act as an insurance measure for stocks to be made available in cases of emergency.
Vaccine manufacturers have told the Department that over a million extra doses of flu vaccine were ordered in the UK this year compared with the last year. This guidance document outlines circumstances under which the national flu vaccine strategic reserve will be made available to the NHS by placing orders through ImmForm.