There have been repeated reports in the media these days that there are problems here and there in Germany with the supply of flu vaccines. As can be heard from pharmacist circles, the situation is also slowly tightening in the district of Kronach, because the manufacturers’ stocks are thinning out.
Flu epidemic has begun
Kronach pharmacist Anne Spoerl puts this statement from her circle of colleagues into perspective a bit: "There’s no reason to panic that someone who needs the vaccination will come up short." A glance at her computer screen shows that the sources have not dried up. A supplier who could supply the vaccine still shows up in the electronic survey.
However, the number of supply offers is really decreasing. For Anne Spoerl, however, this is neither dramatic nor unusual. She explains: "The vaccination season begins in September and ends at the end of the year." Once the flu epidemic has started, there is hardly any vaccination left. That’s why manufacturers and pharmacies alike deliberately aimed not to have large stocks left over. What is not injected must eventually be disposed of.
Soon it will be the common cold again
"The stocks are not taken back", notes Spoerl. Flu vaccines are a kind of seasonal item that is newly assembled every year, she says. "The new vaccine (i.e., for the winter of 2019/2020; note. d. Red.) is based on the strains of flu that are appearing this year", the pharmacist alludes to the fact that the current remedy will be virtually obsolete in the coming year.
How much vaccine is produced for a flu season also depends on what has been pre-ordered. According to Spoerl, physicians are required to order about half of their expected annual requirements early ("Then the industry has a guideline."). Later on, it is still possible to produce more in the case of peaks, but it will of course take some time before the funds are then available. And at some point it’s just too late to crank up the production again.
Kronach physician Verena Frisch thinks it’s reasonable for people to take advantage of the flu vaccination opportunity. And this year many do. "The demand in our practice is great", states the medical expert. "After last year’s experience, people apparently think it’s better to get vaccinated after all."
According to the pharmacy from which it receives vaccines, there is no bottleneck there yet. That is why it is still possible for everyone to be vaccinated in her practice. "Vaccination makes sense", she emphasizes. The correct Influenza is evenly a heavy illness, differently than with us landlaufig often as "flu" designated cold. Especially in people who are already seriously ill, the real flu can take a nasty course, which in the worst case could even be fatal.