Professor Anthony Harnden, deputy chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), told BBC Breakfast on Saturday: “Clearly influenza immunisation this year is really important and the reason it’s so important is because of lockdowns we’ve had very low circulating influenza levels last winter.
“So we do know when there are low circulating influenza levels the year before, often we get high infection rates in the following year so it’s quite possible that we’ll have a high instance of influenza this year.”
He added: “It is of concern that there are delays, but hopefully this will be corrected soon and we’ll get on in general practices, we always do.”
It comes as the shortage of HGV drivers from EU countries who returned to the continent during the coronavirus pandemic and remained there.
Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said: “GPs are at their wits’ end, first forced to cancel blood tests because of bottle shortages and now we learn flu vaccines will be delayed.
“This has been a summer of crisis for the NHS with patients paying the price. With winter coming and flu resurgence a huge risk, ministers must urgently get a grip.”
A Seqirus spokeswoman said: “Seqirus supplies influenza vaccines to all GP practices in England and Wales.
“Due to unforeseen challenges linked with road freight delays, we have informed all our customers of a consequent delay to their scheduled vaccine delivery by a maximum of one to two weeks.
“Seqirus is working hard to resolve the delay to allow customers to reschedule their influenza vaccination clinics.”