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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Impact of MMR Shortage

Due to the recent outbreaks of mumps and the ensuing "catch up" campaign in 16-24 year olds, there is a national shortage of the UK licensed MMR Vaccine (both MMR-II and Priorix).

The Department of Health has endeavoured to provide an interim solution to this shortage by procuring extra vaccine supplies from Germany and the USA. Your surgery may already have received a delivery of these imported vaccines.

Several issues have been raised in relation to this situation that can broadly be split into licence issues and administration issues.

  • Product Licence
    The imported vaccines were not intended for UK use and are therefore not licensed in the UK. They are however identical to the UK product and consideration of this fact should be taken into account before deciding to use the product or not.
  • Administration
    The majority of vaccines are administered under Patient Group Directions (PGD). The existing PGD does not name the German or American vaccine and therefore these vaccines cannot be used when operating under the PGD. If you only have the imported products available, you will have to obtain a Patient Specific Direction - this can be a Prescription, a clinic list print out with a written annotation for vaccination by a GP or and entry made in the electronic computer record by a GP.

Action: Practices should be confident in using the imported vaccines as they are identical to the UK version of the MMR vaccine. When using the vaccine ensure you have appropriate authorisation to administer it before use, in the form of a Patient Specific Direction.

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