Flu Vaccination: 2021 – 2022

Directions for the Flu Vaccination Service 2021/22 Issued

The Department of Health and Social Care have  confirmed that amendments to the Secretary of State Directions have been signed. This means community pharmacy contractors that fully meet the requirements for provision of the Community Pharmacy Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service now have the green light to provide the service.

Action for contractors

Ensure you are familiar with the following:

Additional detailed advice on what contractors need to have in place before providing the service is also available to contractors in the PSNC Briefing 023/21: Guidance on the 2021/22 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service.

Flu 2021/22 Resources for Contractors

Following the publication of the 2021/22 Flu Vaccination advanced service specification the Public Health England (PHE) Immunisation publication team have produced a range of leaflets and posters to promote the jab for school-aged children. These resources are also been made available in a range languages. Documents have also been published for patients to explain the importance of the vaccination for all those eligible.

To view all resources please use the links below:

Flu Vaccination 2021/22 Specification Published (updated 18/08/21)

The 2021/22 Flu Vaccination advanced service specification has been published.

Key changes for 2021/22 include:

  • Standard health inequalities statement added to the document
  • Patient cohorts updated to reflect the content of the 2021/22 Annual Flu Letter
  • Addition of Annex F to detail the information extracted from electronic clinical records systems via an API to the NHSBSA
  • Minor amendments made to include references to JCVI, their determination of cohorts, and their advice about administration of flu alongside other vaccination types
  • Minor changes to reflect operational requirements of amendments to the PGD and development of a national protocol

Please see our training page for details on upcoming flu vaccination training.

Please click here to view the promotional materials for the Flu Vaccination Service 2021/22.

Flu Season 2021/22 – Further details announced (July 2021)

Further to the updated NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) flu letter published on 1st April 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health England (PHE) and NHSE&I have jointly published a second letter to provide further information on the national flu immunisation programme for 2021/22.

The letter highlights the risk of a lower level of population immunity against influenza because of non-pharmaceutical intervention measures taken to protect the population in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions lift and the population returns to pre-pandemic norms of social mixing and social contact, the letter draws attention to how this could result in the 2021/2022 winter having co-circulation of seasonal influenza virus (and other respiratory viruses) and COVID-19.

Eligible groups

The expanded influenza vaccination programme introduced in the 2020/21 season continues and the letter confirms that the vaccination of 50 to 64-year-olds will, as part of measures to protect those aged 50 years and older from the risk of hospitalisation, also continue as a temporary measure.

Therefore, those eligible for NHS influenza vaccination in 2021/22 from community pharmacies are:

  • those aged 18 to 49 years in clinical risk groups;
  • pregnant women;
  • those aged 50 years and over;
  • those in long-stay residential care homes;
  • carers;
  • close contacts of immunocompromised individuals; and
  • frontline health and social care staff employed by:
    • a registered residential care or nursing home;
    • registered domiciliary care provider;
    • a voluntary managed hospice provider; and
    • Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants.

The letter reinforces the Government’s expectation that all frontline health and social care workers should have an influenza vaccination to protect those they care for.

Increasing uptake

At the end of February 2021, the NHS vaccination services had vaccinated a record 80.9% of those aged 65 years and over in England, exceeding the World Health Organization uptake ambition of 75%. The services also achieved the highest recorded vaccination levels for frontline healthcare workers, 2- and 3-year-olds, and at-risk groups. Building on the moment of last year’s achievements and the successful roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, the Government wants to achieve an even greater ambition in the 2021/22 season. The uptake ambition is to achieve:

  • a minimum of 85% in those aged 65 years and older;
  • a minimum of 75% uptake across the under 65 years clinical risk group, pregnant women and the aged 50 to 64 years; and
  • at least 70% uptake in children.

Additionally, the aim is to reduce levels of inequality with no group or community having an uptake of more than 5% lower than the national average.

As part of this, providers of flu vaccination are encouraged to put plans in place to try and increase provision amongst those living in the most deprived areas and from ethnic minority and underserved communities, as well as ensuring equality of access.

Community pharmacies will continue to be able to vaccinate both care home residents and staff in the home setting in a single visit to further support increased uptake rates and offer further protection to this vulnerable group of patients.

Pharmacy Advanced service documentation

The Directions, service specification and Patient Group Direction for the Community Pharmacy Flu Vaccination Advanced Service 2021/22 will be published in due course; PSNC will inform contractors once these are available through its usual communication channels.

GM Healthcare Academy: Flu Vaccination Training

Greater Manchester Healthcare Academy have announced four Flu Vaccination training events for the month of May. Further information and details on how to book your place can be found below.

  • Sunday 5th September 2021, 08:30 – 13:00, Clayton Hotel Manchester Airport, Outwood Lane, Manchester, M90 4HL, Book here.
  • Sunday 5th September 202, 13:30 – 18:00, Clayton Hotel Manchester Airport, Outwood Lane, Manchester, M90 4HL, Book here.

Due to popular demand, ECG are considering arranging additional vaccination training for later on in the year. If you’re interested in attending vaccination training for the 2021-22 season please complete this survey to help us better understand levels of demand. We will inform contractors of any further updates.

Flu Vaccines 2021/22: Updated NHSE&I Letter (April)

Last week, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) reported in its Primary Care Bulletin that 50 to 64 year olds would be included as an eligible cohort for the 2021/22 flu vaccination season.

Following this announcement, NHSE&I has now published its updated flu reimbursement letter. The updated letter provides information on the flu vaccines which will be reimbursable under the 2021/22 Community Pharmacy Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service (Flu Vaccination Service), for the three cohorts (65 years and over, 50-64s and at-risk adults aged 18-64). This includes the addition of the QIVr (Supemtek, Sanofi Pasteur) vaccine.

Read the full NHSE/I letter here

It is important that all contractors that provide the Flu Vaccination Service review the contents of the letter and use the information contained within to inform their ordering of flu vaccine for the season ahead.

Stock Ordering (17/02)

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)’s guidance for accessing centrally supplied flu vaccines is clear that providers are unable to return unused centrally supplied stock.

Where it looks likely that you will be left with excessive levels of central stock, please talk to your regional team, primary care network, or commissioner to see whether it can be redistributed elsewhere within your area.

Please ensure that you still have sufficient supply to vaccinate eligible people who may yet come forward.

Community pharmacies should plan their ordering for 2021/22 season on the basis of meeting at least the numbers of vaccinations they achieved during the 2020/21 season.

Useful resources:

Contractors are encouraged to review the JCVI advice for the 2021/22 season, published in November 2020 and order vaccines in line with reimbursement guidance.

NHSE/I Flu Vaccination Letter on Reimbursement and Ordering (February)

NHS England and Improvement (NHSE/I) have published a letter to GPs, Community Pharmacies, and Chief Executives, Chief Nursing Officers, and Medical Directors of all NHS trusts detailing achievements and developments of the flu season 2020/21, and advice for the 2021/22 season including ordering and reimbursement of vaccines.

There may be further policy developments during 2021/22 informed by the levels and impact of COVID-19 infection to the population. In this situation further advice will be communicated as soon as possible.

Read the full letter here