Influenza providers across England have received an NHS update on the flu vaccines that can be offered to patients for the 2019/20 season, following the licensing of two new vaccines.
The NHS England letter states that the vaccines recommended for the 2018/19 season continue to be recommended for the 2019/20 season.
The standard egg-cultured quadrivalent inactivated vaccine (QIVe) will continue to be recommended for 18-to-64-year-olds in clinical at-risk groups and other eligible groups, including frontline health and social care workers, while the adjuvanted trivalent inactivated vaccine (aTIV) will continue to be recommended for individuals aged 65 years and over.
In addition, the cell grown quadrivalent vaccine (QIVc) (Flucelvax Tetra) is now licensed for use in the UK for patients aged nine years and upwards.
The letter says the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) considers that QIVc is equally suitable to QIVe for those aged 9 to 64 years in clinical at-risk groups and other eligible groups.
Both QIVe and QIVc are preferable to standard egg-based inactivated trivalent vaccines (TIVe), the letter confirms.
The JCVI also considers QIVc equally suitable to aTIV for individuals aged 65 years and over, which is preferable to standard egg-based inactivated trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines (TIVe/QIVe) on the grounds of both clinical and cost-effectiveness.
In addition, the high-dose trivalent vaccine (TIV-HD), which the JCVI also advised as equally suitable for use in those aged 65 years and over, has now been licensed for use in the UK but has a significantly higher list price than the equally suitable vaccines, the letter states. This vaccine will not be commissioned by NHS England or reimbursed for use in the NHS Influenza vaccination programme in 2019/20.