Flu Vaccination Service
Flu Vaccination Service
On 20th July 2015, PSNC announced that as part of the 2015/16 community pharmacy funding settlement NHS England had agreed to allow community pharmacies in England to offer a seasonal influenza (flu) vaccination service for patients in at-risk groups.
This service is the fifth Advanced Service in the English Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) and provision of the service commenced from 16th September 2015.
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 (see below).
Following planning discussions at its May 2020 Committee meeting, PSNC 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. 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.
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.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use in 2020/21
Pharmacists vaccinating patients in 2020/21 will not be able to maintain a social distance from the patient, so it will be necessary for them to wear PPE.
PHE has published the following document which includes guidance on PPE use when vaccinating patients during the pandemic:
The guidance on PPE can be found on page 6 of the document and it states:
|The recommended PPE for administering all vaccines, is gloves, apron, fluid resistant (type IIR) surgical mask and eye protection.
Gloves and aprons are single use. Between vaccination of individuals they should be disposed of and hand hygiene performed. Fluid resistant (type IIR) surgical facemasks and eye protection can be subject to single session use, as outlined in the guidance linked below. Re-usable eye and face protection is acceptable if decontaminated between single or single sessional use, according to the manufacturer’s instructions or local infection control policy.
DHSC, PHE and NHSE&I are still considering the most appropriate supply route for the PPE which will be required by contractors for provision of the flu vaccination service. Once a decision is reached, PSNC will communicate this to contractors.
Training requirements in 2020/21
Following a request from PSNC, Public Health England 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 delay the face-to-face requirement until next year. Read more on the training requirements page
Annual flu letter published for 2020-21
Expansion of eligible groups announced for 2020-21
On 24th July 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced the following additional eligible groups, in a move that will now mean that more than 30 million people will be included in the eligibility criteria for 2020-21.
The new additional eligible groups are:
- People aged 50 to 64;
- Households contacts of those who are on the shielded patient list; and
- An expansion of the schools’ programme to include the first year of secondary school (year 7).
The first two listed groups will be able to access vaccination from community pharmacies under the NHS flu vaccination service, however the offer of vaccination to the 50-64 years group will not commence until later in the season. Read more in our news article.
Second annual flu letter published for 2020-21
Update on flexibilities sought – 7th August 2020
PSNC has published an update on the flexibilities being sought to support community pharmacies with provision of flu vaccinations this season.
Click on a heading below for more information. These website pages will be updated when the requirements for the 2020/21 service are finalised.