Top vaccine supplier warns lorry driver shortage could lead to delay in flu jab deliveries – leading to claims that some GP surgeries are being forced to cancel appointments
- Seqirus supplies vaccines to all GP practices and pharmacies in England
- NHS England said patients who are affected would be contacted by their GP
- Brexit and pandemic fallout prompted many European drivers to return home
One of the UK’s largest flu vaccine suppliers has said there will be a delay in jab deliveries due to a shortage of lorry drivers.
Seqirus, one of the world’s largest flu vaccine companies, reported delays of up to a fortnight – leading to claims that some GP surgeries were being forced to cancel appointments.
It comes after major food companies such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Wetherspoon said they had been affected by the driver shortfall.
Brexit and the pandemic, which have prompted many European drivers to return home and caused a backlog of tests, are being blamed for the shortages.
According to the Road Haulage Association, the UK currently has a shortfall of about 100,000 HGV drivers
Seqirus, which supplies vaccines to all GP practices and pharmacies in England and Wales, said it was ‘working hard to resolve the delay’.
A spokesman added: ‘Due to unforeseen challenges linked with road freight delays, we have informed all our customers of a consequent delay to their scheduled vaccine delivery by a maximum of one to two weeks.’
NHS England said patients who are affected would be contacted by their GP.
Earlier this week, Coca-Cola said a can shortage – particularly of Diet Coke – was being compounded by the lack of drivers. And pub chain Wetherspoon also reported it was suffering from a beer shortage.
Last month, McDonald’s was also hit by the crisis, meaning no milkshakes were available at any outlets.
It comes after major food companies such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Wetherspoon said they had been affected by the driver shortfall
Meanwhile, it was reported yesterday that the shortage has caused disruption to bin collections in at least 18 council areas – with some warning problems could persist until after Christmas.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said green waste collections were worst affected, although some councils have also suspended recycling services to prioritise general waste collections.
The local authorities affected span the whole of the UK – from Dundee in Scotland to Dartford in Kent.
Rossendale Borough Council in Lancashire said problems would ‘continue up to and beyond December’, while Manchester City Council apologised to residents after waste collections were missed earlier this week.
Basildon Council in Essex said their ‘pink sack’ recycling collection had been suspended and advised people to take their rubbish indoors ‘until further notice’. And four councils in Wales ––including Cardiff – said they were already facing or expecting delays in collections.
Meanwhile three local authorities in Devon wrote to Home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday, urging her to relax immigration rules for HGV drivers to ease the disruption.
According to the letter, North Devon Council has seven driver vacancies, Torbay Council eight and Teignbridge Council ten – a gap which the letter said was ‘proving very challenging to fill’.
Waste company Biffa said it was ‘working hard to recruit new drivers,’ while the Government stressed officials were working closely with the DVLA to increase the number of tests taking place and prioritise new applications.
An LGA spokesman said many councils were having to reduce services.
According to the Road Haulage Association, the UK currently has a shortfall of about 100,000 HGV drivers.
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