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Influenza Vaccine Deliveries On Track

April 20 2005

Influenza Vaccine Deliveries On Track

Merck Sharp & Dohme NZ said that it expected to clear the backlog of reconfirmed VAXIGRIP® influenza vaccine orders from its distribution centre by late afternoon today.

Some surgeries may, however, not get vaccine until next week because they have yet to reconfirm their order.

More than 630 reconfirmed orders or 70,000 doses of Vaxigrip influenza vaccine have been despatched to North and South Island surgeries so far.

“We are shipping orders on a first come, first served basis as fast as we can but this is a huge logistical task. For example, the vaccine must be kept at a constant temperature so it is not possible to do weekend deliveries,” explained MSD’s marketing director Mark Vanderwee.

Mr Vanderwee explained that since Ministry of Health approval came through last Tuesday, the distributors had worked intensively to contact GPs and reconfirm orders, and that the first order had been shipped by Wednesday, April 13.

“We undertook to have the first reconfirmed orders delivered to GPs by April 18 and we achieved that. It was not possible to deliver to all GPs at that time as we did not have reconfirmed orders for many doctors,” said Mr Vanderwee.

Orders had to be reconfirmed before shipping because the vaccination programme had changed and vaccinators could no longer use just the one vaccine for all patients.

Vaxigrip is approved as a single dose of vaccine for administration to individuals aged under 65 years who are at low-risk from either influenza infection, or the complications of influenza infection. These patients will not be reimbursed for their vaccination.

Therefore it is important that surgeries re-calculate their requirements for Vaxigrip.

“We will not send any vaccine to surgeries unless they re-confirm their order based on private purchase needs,” said Mr Vanderwee.

People 65 years and over or those who have an ongoing medical condition such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma may be eligible for the free influenza vaccination programme which begins on April 26. They are advised to contact their doctor to check if they are eligible for this programme.

For further information on influenza vaccination call 0800 FLU INFO or 0800 358 4636 or visit www.influenza.org.nz

ENDS

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