Flu Vaccination Service

Published on: 22nd July 2015 | Updated on: 17th August 2022

Community pharmacy has been providing flu vaccinations under a nationally commissioned service since September 2015.

Each year from September through to March the NHS runs a seasonal flu vaccination campaign aiming to vaccinate all patients who are at risk of developing more serious complications from the virus. The accessibility of pharmacies, their extended opening hours and the option to walk in without an appointment have proved popular with patients seeking vaccinations.

The 2022/23 flu vaccination programme

Several, relatively minor, changes to the service have been introduced this year:

Read more about the changes

Eligible patient cohorts and choice of vaccines

NHS England published their flu vaccination reimbursement letter for the 2022/23 season in March 2022. The letter provided information on the flu vaccines which will be reimbursable under the 2022/23 flu vaccination service and the eligible cohorts.

The letter highlighted that in 2022/23, the NHS flu vaccination programme would only be offered to patient groups eligible in line with pre-pandemic recommendations, i.e. 50-64 years olds would not be included. However, on 15th July 2022, the Government announced that everyone aged 50 and over would be among those offered a COVID-19 booster and a flu vaccination this autumn, reversing their previous decision.

Read more about this announcement

In an announcement on 21st July 2022, NHS England:

  • provided further information on the availability of extra vaccine and how pharmacy contractors can order this;
  • provided updated guidance on the choice of vaccine for use in the three eligibility groups; and
  • informed contractors they will be able to start administering vaccines to 50-64 year olds NOT in a clinical risk group from 15th October 2022. The delayed start is to ensure the clinical prioritisation of those most at risk from flu.

Read the NHS England letter on flu vaccines for the 2022/23 season (updated 21st July 2022)

Read the annual flu vaccination programme letter for the 2022/23 season

In relation to ordering additional stock to meet the demand for the 50-64 years old cohort, DHSC has advised contractors:

To order additional stock directly from manufacturers for this additional cohort, based on vaccine coverage that was achieved over the last two years.

In 2021/22, community pharmacies vaccinated 2.2 million 50-64 year olds, however, they could be vaccinated from 1st September. The delay in the start of vaccination of the cohort to 15th October 2022 is likely to impact on the number of eligible patients that can be vaccinated; contractors will need to consider that when placing any orders for additional vaccine.

Click on a link below for more information.

Service specification for the flu vaccination Advanced Service 2022/23 (published 16th August 2022)
The service specification describes the requirements for provision of the service and it is essential reading for all pharmacists providing the service.

National Patient Group Direction 2022/23 (to be published shortly)
The national Patient Group Direction (PGD) provides the legal mechanism for administration of flu vaccine under the service; it should not be used for any other purpose. Enquiries regarding the use of this PGD should be directed to ENGLAND.communitypharmacy@nhs.net

National protocol for inactivated influenza vaccine 2022/23 (to be published shortly)
This protocol provides a legal mechanism for the administration of inactivated influenza vaccine by appropriately trained persons in accordance with regulation 247A of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.

Note: although the protocol allows provision of flu vaccinations to people aged from 6 months to under 50 years in a clinical risk group, the service specification for community pharmacy is for the provision of a flu vaccination to patients aged 18 years and older who are specified in Annex A of the specification.

Amendments to the Pharmaceutical Services (Advanced and Enhanced Services) (England) Directions 2013  (to be published shortly)
The Secretary of State Directions provide the legal basis for the provision of the service.

PSNC Briefing 025/22: Guidance on the 2022/23 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service
This PSNC Briefing provides guidance for community pharmacy contractors and their teams on the 2022/23 NHS Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service in England.

Additional resources for pharmacy teams

Guidance on use of Personal Protective Equipment

Training requirements and resources

Consent, record keeping and data requirements

Communicating and working with GP practices

Vaccinating outside the consultation room & off-site

Promoting the service to patients

Funding, claiming payment and post-payment verification

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Information and resources for LPCs

Flu Vaccination Service statistics


For more information on this topic please email services.team@psnc.org.uk

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