Flu Vaccination – training requirements and resources
Flu Vaccination – training requirements and resources
All pharmacy staff involved in the provision of the Flu Vaccination Service should receive appropriate training relevant to the role they will undertake. Community pharmacy contractors are required to demonstrate that all pharmacists providing the service in their pharmacy have the skills needed to do so.
Flu vaccination services have been widely commissioned from community pharmacies over the last few years and as a consequence, many pharmacists have already received regular training on the provision of a vaccination service. There are a number of organisations offering training and support for the provision of flu vaccination services and contact details can be found below.
The National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners document sets the standards and lists the essential topics which should be incorporated into immunisation training for registered healthcare practitioners. Pharmacists who will provide the Flu Vaccination Service must have completed practical training in vaccination that meets these requirements.
NHS England and NHS Improvement has determined that pharmacists providing the Flu Vaccination Service need to attend face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support (including administration of adrenaline) at least every three years. This requirement ordinarily means (see COVID-19 update below) that a pharmacist who undertook face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support in 2017 would not need to undertake face-to-face training in 2019. The pharmacist would then need to undertake face-to-face training in 2020 in order to continue to provide the service in 2020/21. Pharmacists who last undertook face-to-face training in 2016 would need to undertake face-to-face training in 2019, prior to providing the Flu Vaccination Service 2019/20.
COVID-19 update (April 2020)
Following a request from PSNC, NHSE&I issued the following statement on 14th April 2020:
Following the close of the 2019/20 flu season, we are aware that training and refresher training for community pharmacy teams would normally start to take place, so everyone involved in administering the flu jabs are up-to-date with their training and ready for the new season from September.
Working with Public Health England (PHE) we have received confirmation that their immunisation standards will be amended for the coming season. Anyone who has not previously trained to undertake immunisations must undertake full training before commencing flu vaccination. However, for anyone who has undertaken the vaccinations training before and is due to undertake face-to-face training this year, in the current circumstances online training is the best option, and face-to-face training requirements can be undertaken next year instead.
PHE intend to update the HEE flu e-learning programme (available to all, free of charge at https://www.e-lfh.org.uk/programmes/flu-immunisation/) for the 2020/21 flu season. Those pharmacists who previously received immunisation training/had a role in immunisation in the past can undertake the assessment session before they undertake the whole knowledge session to see if there are gaps in their knowledge where they feel less confident. For those with some familiarity with immunisation, reading through the knowledge sessions should be relatively quick.
Pharmacists can also use the knowledge and skills competency assessment tool (Appendix A in the National minimum standards and core curriculum for immunisation training for registered healthcare practitioners) or similar assessment tools to identify the areas they need further information/training on.
As at 1 September 2020, anyone who is due to undertake annual online refresher training, but has done so within the previous 18 months, does not have to do the training again for the 2020/21 season (although they may do so if they wish). However, they must ensure that they are familiar with the various documents to support the season, including choice of vaccine and contents of the annual flu letter.
What this means for pharmacists in 2020/21
The above statement from NHSE&I means that pharmacists who have previously undertaken vaccination training and are due to repeat face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support (including administration of adrenaline) in 2020 do not need to do this until 2021.
Ordinarily, all vaccinators are expected to undertake annual update training to ensure their knowledge stays up to date with changes in practice and guidance. This may involve self-directed learning, using relevant references sources, such as the Green Book and the annual flu letter. It may also include online training which is available from a range of providers.
The wording in the above NHSE&I statement notes that annual refresher training does not necessarily have to be repeated in 2020/21, subject to the stipulations in the statement. It does however state that vaccinators must ensure that they are familiar with the various documents to support the season, including choice of vaccine and contents of the annual flu letter.
PSNC recommends that all pharmacists that will provide the flu vaccination service during 2020/21, undertake annual update training prior to commencing provision of the service, to ensure they have up-to-date knowledge in relation to the provision of flu vaccinations in 2020/21 and any related matters, such as current guidance on infection control, which may need to be updated in light of the pandemic. This update training can be undertaken in a variety of ways, including self-directed learning and use of online training materials.
Click on a heading below for more information.
Declaration of Competence (DoC)
The Declaration of Competence (DoC) approach (developed by the Community Pharmacy Competence Group) has been agreed by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I), NHS Employers and PSNC as being the way by which pharmacists providing the Flu Vaccination Service can demonstrate their competence to the contractor who is contracted to provide the service and to NHE&I.
The Community Pharmacy Competence Group (CPCG) has published an updated version (Version 3, August 2019) of the Vaccination Services DoC. Pharmacists are required to complete the Vaccination services DoC every two years as part of the requirements to be able to offer the NHS Flu Vaccination Service.
Following a review of the previous version of the DoC, which is hosted on the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) website, the learning and assessment has been reviewed and the CPPE Immunisation programme has been withdrawn. This has been replaced with key modules from e-Learning for Healthcare on Flu Immunisation.
The new Vaccination services DoC is available on the CPPE website.
CPPE has produced A guide to using the Declaration of Competence (DoC) system and a factsheet to help pharmacists complete the DoC process.
FAQS on the updated DoC
Q. I completed a DoC for the NHS Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service 2018/19. Do I need to complete it again?
The DoC framework and statement of declaration need to be completed every two years, so if you last completed the Vaccination services DoC in 2018/19, you would not need to complete the new vaccination DoC until 2020/21. However, pharmacists could use the e-Learning for Healthcare modules included in the updated Vaccination DoC (01- Core knowledge and 02- Inactivated Flu vaccines) to ensure they are up-to-date for the 2019/20 Flu Vaccination Service; this could be included as part of a pharmacist’s annual update training.
As the updated DoC covers all vaccinations, the competency framework should be revisited, and the statement of declaration re-signed whenever a pharmacist starts to offer a service with different vaccines to those that they have previously administered.
Q. I have already started to complete the previous version (Version 2, August 2018) of the Vaccination services DoC in preparation for the 2019/20 service. Do I need to start again and complete the new version (Version3, August 2019) for the 2019/20 service?
No. If a pharmacist has started to complete the previous version of the Vaccination services DoC (version 2) they would not need to start again and complete the new Vaccination services DoC for the 2019/20 service.
Q. How soon can I complete the DoC for the NHS Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service 2019/20?
Pharmacists that need to complete a DoC for the 2019/20 Flu Vaccination Service can now start to work through the DoC framework and complete any learning, training and assessment to fill any gaps identified. However, the service documents such as the service specification and Patient Group Direction for this service have not, at the time of publication of this news story, been published. You will need to read, understand and sign these documents before you sign your statement of declaration for this service.
Q. How can I find out more?
For more information and to access all DoCs, visit the CPPE website.
e-Learning for Healthcare Flu Immunisation online course
This interactive flu immunisation e-learning programme, written by Public Health England and produced by Health Education England’s eLearning for Healthcare, is available for anyone involved in delivering the flu immunisation programme.
Some LPCs are arranging local training for their pharmacy contractors; contact your LPC to see if they are organising any training.
There are a number of organisations that provide vaccination training for pharmacists and those that PSNC has been made aware of are listed below for information (listing on this website does not constitute endorsement of the course or provider by PSNC):
Numark (Members only)
Flu Champion course
Pharmacy Complete has a distance-learning course which aims to equip pharmacy team members with the knowledge and skills required to support the effective delivery of the Flu Vaccination Service. The course includes a workbook, online assessment, certificate and Flu Champion badge.
Please note: completion of this course is not a requirement of the Flu Vaccination Service; this is an optional course for pharmacy team members.
Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions relating to training requirements can be found on the Flu Vaccination FAQs page.