THE HSE has issued instructions that its stock of flu vaccine is not to be used for anyone outside of the “at-risk” category.
t comes as some pharmacy chains have in recent weeks been forced to cancel appointments for individuals trying to get the vaccine.
Tonight the HSE said additional flu vaccine had been purchased this season and there was enough for at risk individuals.
“The HSE stock is not to be used for anyone outside these groups,” a statement to independent.ie said.
“The availability of private stock is an arrangement between manufacturers and pharmaceutical wholesalers.
“The HSE supply has no influence on this commercial arrangement.”
It said it procured 1.4 million doses of QIV (Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine) vaccine for adults, over 20pc more QIV than was used or distributed last season.
According to the executive, increased uptake was expected in targeted groups, as identified by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee and the Department of Health.
The HSE has also purchased 600,000 doses of LAIV (Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine) – the nasal spray vaccine for children aged two to 12.
The statement said by the end of the second cycle of deliveries this week around 800 000 doses of influenza vaccine will have been delivered to over 3,000 sites across the country.
This represents an increase of 25pc in quantities of vaccine delivered when compared with last year.
A third two-week round of deliveries of the influenza vaccine to sites began yesterday.
However it will be reduced due to a delay in the shipment of vaccine from the manufacturer.
“To date all sites have received 75pc of the quantity used last season, and the allowance for the third delivery will increase this to 90pc.
“Further stocks will be available for the fourth round of deliveries,” it said.
GPs, pharmacists, hospitals and nursing homes will continue to be treated the same way to ensure “an equitable distribution of influenza vaccine to all the target groups for vaccination”.
“We acknowledge this flu season has seen a marked increase in demand for the vaccine early in the season.
“HSE influenza vaccine should only be used for those in the groups eligible for the HSE influenza vaccine programme,” it said.
“Sufficient stock has been ordered to vaccinate those in the HSE at risk groups and all shipments will have arrived into Ireland before the end of October.”
Among those in the at risk group are people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, children from two to 12 and adults with long-term health conditions such as chronic heart or liver disease.
Healthcare workers and carers are also considered at risk.