NHS Flu Vaccination Service (changes for 2020/2021)

NHS Flu Vaccination Service – will be directed to the PSNC website

Service description and background

For most healthy people, influenza (flu) is an unpleasant but usually self-limiting disease. However, older people, pregnant women and those with underlying diseases are at particular risk of severe illness if they catch it.

With the current requirements for social distancing, the direct impact being the need to limit the number of people in community pharmacies and the need to continue focusing on enhanced infection control, following negotiations, PSNC has successfully agreed changes to the community pharmacy flu vaccination

Those most at risk from flu are also most vulnerable to COVID-19. So, flu vaccination is one of the most effective interventions the NHS has to reduce pressure on the health and social care system this winter.

In line with the information published in the Annual Flu letter, focus should be given to vaccinating the ‘most at risk’ eligible patients between 1st September 2020 and 30th November 2020, with eligible patients being vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available.

PSNC has worked with NHS England and NHS Improvement to agree some changes to the community pharmacy Flu Vaccination Service for 2020/2021


The changes include:

  • NHSE&I has determined that pharmacists providing the service need to attend face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support training (including administration of adrenaline for anaphylaxis) at least every three years. However as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, PHE has confirmed that
    anyone who has undertaken face to face vaccination training before and is due to undertake face-to-face training this year, can participate in online update training instead, delaying the face-to-face requirement until next year.
  • The Declaration of Competence (DoC) approach has been agreed by NHSE&I and PSNC as being the way by which pharmacists providing the Flu Vaccination Service must demonstrate their competence to the contractor who is contracted to provide the service and to NHSE&I.
  • Flexibility in off site provision
    The existing flexibility which allows flu vaccination of patients in their own homes (including care homes) will continue. Contractors are no longer required to submit a notification of intent to provide off-site NHS flu vaccinations to their regional NHSE&I team.

    Additional flexibilities are also being introduced this year to support other off-site provision of flu vaccinations. These flexibilities allow provision of the service in locations outside of the pharmacy premises that may provide greater space for patients, greater ability to manage patient flow to maintain social distancing, and better waiting facilities in the event of poor weather.
    The sites could include:
    • Marquees outside the pharmacy premises;
    • Local village, town or community halls;
    • Church halls, temples or mosques;
    • Car parks; and
    • Sports halls / Stadiums.

  • As well as being able to vaccinate patients in care homes, contractors are now, as part of additional flexibilities,  able to vaccinate care home staff at their place of work.
  • Also agreed with NHSE&I and DHSC:
    • the removal of the need to submit a completed copy of the Notification of intent to provide off-site NHS flu vaccinations to the regional NHSE&I team before vaccinating patients in their own home or a care home;
    • when providing flu vaccinations at a care home, removal of the need to have notified the patient’s general practice in advance of vaccination; and
    • the introduction of a verbal consent model, with the patient’s consent being noted in the clinical record, so a signed consent record is no longer mandatory.

Claims for payments must now be made using the NHSBSA Manage Your Service (MYS) platform

The changes are contained within the service specification and the Patient Group Direction, which have been published.

The service will commence on 1st September 2020,

More info in PSNC briefing – https://psnc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/PSNC-Briefing-26-20-Guidance-on-the-Seasonal-Influenza-Vaccination-Advanced-Service-2020-21.pdf

All documents and up to date details are on the PSNC website –https://psnc.org.uk/services-commissioning/advanced-services/flu-vaccination-service/