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Danger for high-risk patients: Influenza vaccine in short supply in Bonn

Danger for high-risk patients : Influenza vaccine in short supply in Bonn

Pharmacies and doctors in Bonn and the region are running out of flu vaccines. The Paul Ehrlich Institute which oversees the vaccine supply here, is talking about an "unequal distribution" within Germany.

Pharmacies and doctors in Bonn are running out of influenza vaccine. For about four weeks now, many of them have had difficulties obtaining the most widely-used vaccine from wholesalers and producers. According to the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), "regional supply shortages" for influenza vaccines may arise. Although many vaccines from the three big pharmaceutical companies are sold out, this does not mean that the supply is too low. Susanne Stöcker from PEI explains that the vaccines are on the market, for example in the hands of wholesalers.

Anyone who wants to buy a flu vaccine in Bonn's pharmacies as a private patient and then have it injected by a doctor is currently out of luck. "It is almost impossible to obtain individual vaccines. We have a real shortage," says Claus-Peter Müller, who runs a pharmacy on Kaiserplatz. They have already been out of stock for four weeks. It doesn't look better at other pharmacies. For bulk packs with ten inoculation units, the situation is a bit better, but still tight. "They will probably arrive again in the course of the week," hopes Müller. However, these bulk packs are intended for use at surgeries.

Retail supply for flu vaccines is not transparent

The supply chain for influenza vaccines is complex and difficult. As a pharmacist you can order from producers - of which there are three large and a few small - or from regional wholesalers. "When I stock up on vaccines, I don't know whether I'll get them sold," says Claus Müller. So he himself bears the entrepreneurial risk of making a loss of several thousand euros.

The Paul Ehrlich Institute, which is responsible in Germany for the approval and release of vaccines, also monitors the supply. "We currently have an uneven distribution," says Stöcker. One area where the vaccines are out of stock is in the Rhineland. "We cannot say at this time what the reason is." One explanation could be a lack of pre-orders on the part of pharmacies.

Imports from Great Britain

The PEI is asking vaccine suppliers to deliver to the Rhineland to alleviate the supply shortage. Should the situation worsen, however, the state government will intervene. Stöcker said they had a similar situation a few years ago. At that time, vaccines were imported from Great Britain at great expense. There was also the possibility of requesting batches from manufacturers that were destined for other countries.

(Orig. text: Nicolas Ottersbach / Translation: ck)