The FAMHP will continue to closely monitor their distribution. In order to provide patients, doctors and pharmacists with the best possible information, the FAMHP collected the most up-to-date information from the three authorisation holders concerned (Sanofi, Mylan, GSK) on the planned delivery dates to wholesaler-distributors. According to this, approximately one third of the planned vaccines must still be delivered.
For the 2020-2021 influenza season, nearly two million influenza vaccines have already been produced and put into circulation by the authorisation holders. In other words, the vaccines produced have either been delivered to wholesale-distributors or have already been distributed directly to pharmacies. A significant part of the deliveries to pharmacies will take place at the end of October and the beginning of November. Doctors who plan vaccination schedules should take this into account.
Compared to previous years, part of the vaccines will be delivered later. Temporary unavailability in pharmacies is therefore possible. But all actors concerned are doing their best to ensure that vaccines reach at-risk groups as quickly as possible. The number of vaccines provided this year increased by 10% compared to last year. Therefore, even with a reasonable increase in vaccination coverage among at-risk groups, there is currently no indication that there will not be enough influenza vaccines available for at-risk groups, provided that all actors follow recommendations on the sequential approach.
Distribution per authorisation holder
Please find below an overview of what has already been distributed by the pharmaceutical companies and what still needs to be distributed.
- Sanofi: 80% of the planned vaccines have already been distributed. The remaining 20% will be distributed around 5 November.
- Mylan: 74% of the planned vaccines have already been distributed, 22% will be distributed at the end of October and the last 4% will be distributed in mid-November.
- GSK: 24% of the planned vaccines have already been distributed, 50% will be distributed at the end of October, 10% will be distributed at the end of November and 16% in mid-December (imported batches).
In total, there are still one million influenza vaccines to be distributed by the authorisation holders.
A sequential approach
As a reminder, Belgium opted this year for a sequential approach to flu vaccination. High flu vaccination coverage among target groups identified by the Superior Health Council can help avoid overwhelming health care systems in times of COVID-19. At-risk groups will therefore be given priority until 15 November to get their vaccine in pharmacies. Furthermore, people aged 50 and over will not need a medical prescription to do so, since pharmacists can prescribe the vaccine themselves to this group.
Close monitoring by the FAMHP
All concerned must strictly respect the sequential approach. Wholesaler-distributors must supply all pharmacists who request it for at-risk groups, regardless of pre-orders. Pharmacists must order only what is necessary for their at-risk groups. Occupational doctors, general practitioners and specialists must follow the prescription recommendations for at-risk groups. The FAMHP will continue to ensure that the recommendations are correctly followed.
The FAMHP, together with all those involved in the Influenza Vaccination Task Force, closely monitors the situation on the ground. It will make adjustments and communicate on this if necessary.