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Single flu vaccine for all patients over nine years old available to GP practices

GP practices can now order a single flu vaccine for all patients over the age of nine for the next flu season, NHS England has announced.

The new vaccine – QIVc - was licenced for use in the UK last week, and has been ruled safe and effective in all age groups over nine years old by the Government’s vaccination advisory body.

In a letter, published today, NHS England told practices they can order QIVc, alongside the previously available aTIV and QIVe – which were used in 2018/19 for over 65s and under 65s at risk, respectively.

In the updated influenza vaccine letter, NHS England’s national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: ‘As stated in the previous letter, the vaccines recommended for the 2018/19 season continue to be recommended for the 2019/20 season.’

‘In addition, QIVc, Flucelvax Tetra, is now licensed for use in the UK for patients aged nine years and upwards,’ he added.

The letter said the JCVI considers QIVc ‘equally suitable’ to QIVe and aTIV, meaning practices only need to order one flu vaccine for the 2019/20 season.

It said: ‘Providers should order currently licensed vaccines, aTIV, QIVe and QIVc for the 2019/20 season for their populations in eligible groups. These three recommended vaccines will be eligible for reimbursement by NHS England.’

Ahead of the 2018/19 flu season, which started on 1 September, practices were advised to administer the quadrivalent vaccine (QIV) to patients aged 18-65 and the adjuvanted trivalent flu vaccine (aTIV) to patients aged over 65.