§ Ms Jowell
Influenza vaccine is usually well tolerated apart from occasional soreness at the immunisation site. A total of 592 reports of serious suspected adverse drug reactions associated with influenza vaccine have been reported to the Committee on Safety of Medicines during the period 1 January 1988 to 31 December 1997 from 63W throughout the United Kingdom. During this time over 50 million doses of influenza vaccine are estimated to have been given.
A report of a reaction does not imply causality. Many factors to be taken into account when assessing causal relationships including temporal association, any underlying disease and the possible contribution of other concomitant medication. In these circumstances it may be difficult to ascribe the cause of the reaction to a single vaccine or drug.
§ Ms Jowell
The number of doses of influenza vaccine sold in each of the last 10 years is given in the first table but it is not possible to say how many people received the vaccine. These are the total United Kingdom sales figures provided by the manufacturers. They include vaccine sold to general practitioners, health authorities, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and private sales. These figures are not available broken down by each country.
Doses of influenza vaccine sold 1987/88 to 1997/98 (financial years), UK Doses of vaccine (millions) 1987/88 2.0 1988/89 2.9 1989/90 3.2 1990/91 3.7 1991/92 4.5 1992/93 4.7 1993/94 5.7 1994/95 6.1 1995/96 6.0 1996/97 6.2 1997/981 7.3 1 1997/98 may include unused stocks
The numbers of items of influenza vaccine dispensed on the National Health Service in England for 1991–1996 are given in the second table. These are the only years for which this information is available. Prescription items may not relate exactly to the number of people receiving the prescriptions, and therefore the number of doses given on the NHS.
Number of prescription items dispensed for influenza1 vaccines, 1991 to 1996 (calendar years), England Number of prescription items (millions) 1991 3.6 1992 3.9 1993 4.5 1994 4.9 1995 4.9 1996 5.0 1 Influenza vaccines are those described within British National Formulary section 14.1, vaccines and antisera.
The data cover all prescriptions dispensed by community pharmacists and appliance contractors, dispensing doctors, and prescribing doctors for items personally administered in England.