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a vaccination syringes image cbOctober 23 2017

A shortage of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine has promoted a Chief Medical Officer letter to GPs recommending how stocks can best be managed.

The current shortage of the PPV23 vaccine is anticipated to continue for some time. “There is only one licensed vaccine available and although the company are expecting more stock deliveries during October, the volume anticipated is unlikely to be sufficient to vaccinate the whole 65 year old cohort this winter,” says the letter from the Welsh CMO and NHS Wales Medical Director Dr Frank Atherton.

He summarises the three main recommendations in the letter as:

  • practices should plan to deliver the bulk vaccine programme across the year;
  • for patients at high risk, it is important to ensure that other preventive measures, including influenza vaccination, are implemented;
  • the records of such patients should be flagged so that they can be called for vaccine once the stock situation improves.

A table sets out priority groups for PPV23 vaccination, ranking them into high, moderate and low priority. The letter notes that “there is no shortage of the PCV13 vaccine used in infants and toddlers but this vaccine is not suitable for protection of older people.”

Links:
GP One coverage              
CMO letter CEM/CMO/2017/4b

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