Update on the Flu Vaccination Service 2020-21

Update on the Flu Vaccination Service 2020-21

June 9, 2020

We know lots of pharmacy contractors and their teams are starting to actively plan for the 2020-21 flu vaccination service. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) and Public Health England (PHE) are likewise currently undertaking an extensive programme of work to plan for the flu vaccination programme in 2020/21, including consideration of how the programme can be delivered in a COVID-secure manner.

Consideration is also still being given to whether the programme could be expanded to include a wider group of patients than normal, as was highlighted in the Annual flu letter for 2020-21.

Following planning discussions at its May Committee meeting, PSNC has started discussions with NHSE&I on potential changes to the community pharmacy flu vaccination service which could be made this year to support provision of the service in a COVID-secure way. We have also asked for clear guidance to be provided by PHE on the appropriate personal protective equipment to be used when vaccinating patients; in the meantime, it would be safe for contractors to assume that the use of fluid resistant surgical masks will be a minimum requirement, as it will clearly not be possible for pharmacists to vaccinate patients while also maintaining a two metre social distance.

We know contractors want to know as soon as possible what changes, if any, will be made to the service this year and we are working with NHSE&I to get to an agreement on that as quickly as possible. DHSC has not yet made any decisions on extension of the scope of the programme this year and that Government decision will need to be made before any negotiations on the service can be completed. We will update contractors on the 2020/21 service as soon as we are able.

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