Flu vaccination service: how can you provide it in a COVID-safe way?

Flu vaccination service: how can you provide it in a COVID-safe way?

July 3, 2020

The number of flu vaccinations administered by community pharmacists under the NHS Advanced service grew by 20% in 2019/20 compared to the previous year, with 1,718,147 administrations being claimed to the end of March (NHSBSA data).

This excellent growth rate continues to demonstrate that the convenience and accessibility of the pharmacy service is highly valued by patients.

However, in the season ahead, there will be a new challenge to overcome when providing the service: how to do so in a COVID-safe way?

Earlier this year, PSNC started discussions with NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) on potential changes to the flu vaccination service which could support provision in a COVID-safe manner. These include proposed changes to allow provision of the service within the pharmacy premises, but not within the consultation room and provision of the service off the pharmacy premises.

Our proposals are still being considered by NHSE&I, but we believe it is important that pharmacy contractors think about and plan for several different scenarios which may be open to them this year.

To help contractors and their teams with this, we have published a PSNC Briefing which:

  • provides early guidance for contractors and their teams on the regular in-pharmacy vaccination service;
  • highlights the potential scenarios being discussed that may provide additional opportunities to provide the community pharmacy flu vaccination service in other environments;
  • lists considerations that contractors may need to reflect on ahead of the service launch; and
  • highlights other resources which may support contractors to provide the service.

Download PSNC Briefing 023/20: Early guidance on the 2020/21 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service

We strongly recommend that contractors use the information in the briefing document to plan how they may be able to provide a COVID-safe service this year.

Contractors must however note that the changes PSNC is seeking to the flu vaccination service, described in the briefing, have not yet been agreed and may never be agreed by NHSE&I. We will confirm any agreed changes as soon as possible, but in the meantime, the options presented should only be used for planning purposes.

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