Flu Vaccination – FAQs

Flu Vaccination – FAQs

This page contains the answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the Flu Vaccination Service.

Page last updated: 6th November 2020


Click on a heading below for more information. 

Background and general

Q. Can distance selling pharmacies provide the Flu Vaccination Service?
Yes. A distance selling pharmacy may provide Advanced Services, if any Essential Service which forms part of the Advanced Service is not provided to persons present at the premises. The distance selling pharmacy must fully meet the requirements for the provision of the Flu Vaccination Service, which includes the consultation room requirements.

Q. What insurance should you have for the Flu Vaccination Service?
Advice should be sought from your insurance provider.

Q. Can pharmacies in Wales provide the Advanced Service?
The Advanced Service only applies to England; Community Pharmacy Wales undertakes separate negotiations on Advanced Services which are provided in Wales.

Q. How do contractors inform NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) that they intend to provide the Advanced Service?
There is no requirement to notify NHSE&I that you intend to provide the service.

Q. Where can I obtain statistics from previous years on the national pharmacy Flu Vaccination Service?
Information on how many vaccinations have been provided under the national pharmacy Flu Vaccination Service in previous years can be found on the Flu Vaccination – Statistics page.

Q. I was an essential small pharmacy, but I now have a replacement LPS contract. Will I be able to provide the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service?
All the services to be provided by an LPS contractor must be agreed between NHSE&I and the pharmacy and be included in the LPS contract. As the very substantial benefits of pharmacies providing the Flu Vaccination Service are recognised by NHSE&I – which has agreed this for the standard pharmacy contractual arrangements, PSNC recommend that LPS contractors contact their local NHSE&I team to propose a contract variation, to include a Flu Vaccination Service.  The location of the ‘essential small pharmacy’ LPS premises often in areas where there are no other healthcare providers could provide a very convenient service for the public who would otherwise be hard to reach.

 

Premises requirements

Q. My pharmacy doesn’t have a consultation room; can I provide the Flu Vaccination Service?
No. Having a consultation room is a prerequisite for provision of the Flu Vaccination Service. The consultation room, which will be used to undertake vaccinations, must comply with the minimum requirements set out below:

  • the consultation room must be clearly designated as an area for confidential consultations;
  • it must be distinct from the general public areas of the pharmacy premises; and
  • it must be a room where both the person receiving services and the pharmacist providing those services are able to sit down together and talk at normal speaking volumes without being overheard by any other person (including pharmacy staff), other than a person whose presence the patient requests or consents to (such as a carer or chaperone).

Q. We are a distance selling pharmacy without a consultation room; can I provide the Flu Vaccination Service to patients in their own homes? 
No. Community pharmacy contractors must have a consultation room that meets the requirements outlined in the service specification, even if they intend to vaccinate off-site only.  

Service specification and Patient Group Direction

Q. What is the clinical code in table 1 of the service specification?
This is a code used by GP practice IT record systems to record clinical information in a standardised way. There is one coding system currently in use in England and the code for ‘Seasonal influenza vaccination given by pharmacist’ is listed in table 1 for this coding system. The code is also listed on the national GP Practice Notification Form.

Q. Does a contractor have to make a ‘prescription register’ entry for each administration of vaccine under the national PGD?
No. The records required to be maintained by the PGD, which are those included in the Flu Vaccination Record Form, made on the date of administration meet the requirements to make records in the Human Medicines Regulations. These records may be kept as a paper record or electronically.

Q. Do pharmacists have to sign a copy of the national PGD?
Yes, pharmacists must sign a copy of the PGD to indicate that they understand the PGD requirements and agree to work under those requirements.

Q. Can the PGD be signed remotely (electronic signature) by the authorising manager, for example, from the pharmacies’ head office for all of their pharmacies?
Yes. It is possible for the PGD to be signed remotely (electronic signature); however, the authorising manager still needs to be able to confirm the pharmacist:

  • is aware of the service specification and requirements for provision of the service;
  • has completed the Declaration of Competence self-assessment framework and has printed and signed the statement of declaration; and
  • has the organisation’s approval to provide the service.

Q. Should a copy of the signed Declaration of Competence (DoC) statement and the signed PGD be kept at the pharmacy for each pharmacist providing the service at the pharmacy?
Yes. The service specification states that the contractor must keep a copy of the completed DoC on the pharmacy premises for each pharmacist providing the service. The DoC statement says a copy of the signed PGD should be attached to the DoC statement.

Q. What is the legal basis for the administration of flu vaccinations in the new Advanced Service?
A national PGD provides the legal authority for supplying the vaccine.

Q. Can pharmacy staff other than a pharmacist administer the vaccine?
No. Currently the flu vaccination is administered under the authority of the national PGD and the associated regulatory requirements mean that products have to be administered by a pharmacist; administration of a parenteral POM cannot be delegated to another person after the supply has been made under a PGD by a pharmacist.

Q. Can a nurse administer the vaccine as part of the service?
No, currently only a pharmacist can administer the vaccine under the service.

Q. Can a pharmacy technician administer the vaccine?
No, currently only a pharmacist can administer the vaccine under the service.

Q. Can a pharmacist providing the service and qualified as an independent prescriber prescribe the vaccine for patients, rather than using the national PGD?
No. The Advanced Service only uses the national PGD to authorise administration of the vaccine.

Q. Does the national PGD authorise administration of the vaccine for other patients not covered by the NHS eligibility criteria (i.e. as a private service)?
No. If pharmacies wish to provide a private Flu Vaccination Service in addition to the Advanced Service, they need to ensure that another suitable PGD is in place to allow provision of a private service.

Q. Do pharmacists have to send a copy of the signed PGD to NHSE&I or another organisation?
No. The signed PGD should be retained in the pharmacy where the pharmacist is administering vaccines.

Q. Can a pharmacy company with multiple pharmacies nominate one authorising manager for all pharmacists signing the PGD, for example, the superintendent pharmacist?
Yes, as it is for the contractor to determine who should be an authorising manager within their organisation.

Q. Who should complete the authorising manager declaration section on the PGD?
It is for the contractor to determine who should be an authorising manager within their organisation. The authorising manager’s role is to confirm the pharmacist:

  • is aware of the service specification and requirements for provision of the service;
  • has completed the Declaration of Competence self-assessment framework and has printed and signed the statement of declaration; and
  • confirm that the pharmacist has the organisation’s approval to provide the service.

In certain circumstances, for example, a community pharmacy where the pharmacist who will administer vaccines is also the superintendent pharmacist or contractor, it may be necessary for the authorising manager to be the same person as the practitioner, though this situation should be avoided wherever possible.

 

Training requirements (General)

Q. What are the knowledge and skills required in order to provide a vaccination service?
The National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners set out the knowledge and skills that healthcare professionals undertaking vaccination services need to have. NHSE&I has determined that pharmacists providing the Flu Vaccination Service need to attend face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support training every three years. This requirement means that a pharmacist who undertook face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support in 2017 would not need to undertake face-to-face training until 2020. Pharmacists who last undertook face-to-face training in 2016 would need to undertake face-to-face training in 2019, prior to providing the Flu Vaccination Service. [Read about the special provisions made in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic]

Q. Do the 2018 National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners contain lots of changes compared to the previous 2005 versions?
No. The revised document contains several updates to the 2005 version, but most of the revisions reflect the expansion of the immuniser workforce beyond doctors and nurses, and the approach that has been taken in recent years to the training of pharmacists and other ‘new’ vaccinators. For example:

  • e-learning courses may provide an effective mechanism through which immunisers can access training. A blended learning approach can be utilised with an e-learning course used alongside face-to-face sessions;
  • foundation training and updates should be tailored to suit the requirements of the immunisers to their specific area of practice and the vaccine(s) that they administer. So, the training of a new immuniser who will only administer one type of vaccine should cover all the topics in the core curriculum, but these should be made context and vaccine specific. With only one vaccine to cover, length of training will be shorter than for those who give a range of different vaccines; and
  • annual update training – face to face updates are likely to be of particular value to those who give or advise on a diverse range of immunisations, e.g. practice nurses. However, it is recognised that for some immunisers in some areas of practice, face-to-face updates may not be feasible, and updating may be best undertaken through self-directed learning. Methods for this may include undertaking the assessment modules of an immunisation e-learning programme and doing/re-doing the necessary modules to refresh knowledge. Practitioners could also read through the ‘Information for healthcare practitioner’ documents on the PHE website, listen to any available webcasts and read recently published articles on immunisation relevant to their area of practice.

Q. Where can I undertake training to provide vaccination services?
A range of organisations provide training for pharmacists on vaccination. Some LPCs have arranged training for local pharmacists, so you may want to check with your LPC about the availability of local training. A list of training providers is also available on the PSNC website.

Q. I completed face-to-face training covering injection technique and basic life support last year, but I have been told that unless I vaccinated over a specific number of patients last year I will need to re-do the training again this year. Does this apply to the NHS Advanced Flu Vaccination Service?
No, this does not apply to the NHS Advanced Flu Vaccination Service. NHSE&I has determined that pharmacists providing the Flu Vaccination Service need to attend face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support training every three years, irrespective of how many vaccines are administered each year. [Read about the special provisions made in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic]

If you are providing private flu vaccinations (not as part of the NHS Advanced Flu Vaccination Service) there may be minimum activity requirements in order for your training to be valid; this should be verified with the private PGD provider.

Q. I completed face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support two years ago – do I need to complete face-to-face training again this year?
No. Face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support must be completed every three years (previously this training was required every two years).

This requirement means that a pharmacist who undertook face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support in 2018 would not need to undertake face-to-face training in 2020. The pharmacist would then need to undertake face-to-face training in 2021 in order to continue to provide the service in 2021/22.

[Read about the special provisions made in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic]

Q. I completed face-to-face injection technique and basic life support training last year. Do I need to complete online refresher training this year?
There is no requirement to complete online refresher training for the national Flu Vaccination Service, but the National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners expect vaccinators to undertake annual update training. PSNC recommends that pharmacists undertake this training prior to commencing provision of the service each year, to ensure they have up-to-date knowledge in relation to the provision of flu vaccinations in that year and any related matters, such as current guidance on infection control. This update training can be undertaken in a variety of ways, including self-directed learning and use of online training materials.

Q. There is free flu training available for healthcare professionals on www.e-lfh.org.uk; if I study it and pass the assessments does it count as annual update training provided I have had face-to-face training within the last three years?
If a pharmacist has completed their face-to-face training and the Declaration of Competence, it is up to them to determine how they wish to do annual update training that meets their needs. This could include, for example, completing a CPPE learning pack, completing online assessments, reading books/articles or watching videos.

There is no stipulated way to do annual update training, but vaccinating pharmacists have a professional obligation to ensure their skills and knowledge are kept up to date.

Q. Is there any other training I should consider?
As well as training specifically on vaccination provision, contractors and pharmacists should consider training for themselves or their team on topics such as consultation skills or first aid, or even marketing or time management, as these may better equip them to provide the service. The core vaccination training will cover matters such as management of allergic reactions and patient consultation.

Pharmacists may also wish to consider training to support their awareness and understanding of their responsibilities under the Mental Capacity Act. Support with this topic can be found on the Social Care Institute of Excellence website where there are a range of training resources.

 

Training requirements (Declaration of Competence)

Q. How will contractors determine that their pharmacists have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide the service?
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. The Vaccination services DoC must be used for the Advanced Service; it is available on the CPPE website.

Q. Which vaccination DoC should I use for the Advanced Service?
You must use the Vaccination services DoC; this can be used for the Advanced Service as well as locally commissioned vaccination services.

Q. Once a pharmacist has completed the DoC self-assessment framework and has printed and signed the statement of declaration, is the DoC process complete?
Once both of these documents have been completed and signed, the pharmacist will be able to demonstrate to the contractor that they are working for that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to provide the service. However, it is important to complete step 5 of the DoC process ‘Update your CPPE learning record’. This step confirms that the statement of declaration for Vaccination services has been signed.

Q. Since the requirement for face-to-face training for both injection technique and basic life support now needs to be completed every three years (previously this training was required every two years), will the DoC requirement also change to every three years so the requirements can be synchronised?
No. The Declaration of Competence process remains unchanged; this needs to be completed every two years. 

Q. If I am a pharmacist with a registered address in Wales or Scotland, but I will be working in an English community pharmacy providing the service, how can I access the DoC on the CPPE website?
Pharmacy professionals who work in England but live in Scotland or Wales can make a request to CPPE for their practice location to be changed on their database (telephone 0161 778 4000 or email info@cppe.ac.uk). This will allow the pharmacist access to learning and assessments plus the DoC. Every six months CPPE will automatically check if they still practise in England.

Q. The Vaccination services DoC provides a list of recommended learning and assessments; should all of these be completed?
This is a decision that needs to be made by the individual pharmacist. A pharmacist is personally responsible for keeping their knowledge and skills up to date and relevant to their roles and responsibilities. Working through the DoC system provides a pharmacist with the opportunity to reflect on their current competencies and identify and meet their learning and assessment needs.

The list of recommended learning and assessments will help pharmacists to fill any gaps in their knowledge or competence in order to provide the Flu Vaccination Service.

Q. If a pharmacist has completed an independent prescribing course, does this mean they meet the Consultation Skills for Pharmacy Practice: Practice Standards for England, and can complete the core competency section in the Vaccination services DoC?
The wording in the core competency within DoC states that pharmacy professionals should be actively working towards the Practice Standards. This is because developing consultation skills is an ongoing process throughout the career of every pharmacy professional. The independent prescribing course will have provided a pharmacist with an element of training on consultation skills to support them in working towards the Practice Standards; however, it would be down to the individual pharmacist to download the Consultation Skills for Pharmacy Practice: Practice Standards for England to see whether they feel the training they have undertaken has sufficiently supported them or whether further learning would be beneficial. If a pharmacist feels they meet the standards and have a good understanding of consultation skills due to the learning they have undertaken, they should attempt the consultation skills e-assessment, which will help assess their skills in this area and provide reassurance of competency.

Q. Is it a requirement to have accessed, but not necessarily completed the Consultation Skills for Pharmacy Practice: e-assessment to be able to provide the Advanced Flu Vaccination Service?
Pharmacists are not required to have completed the Consultation Skills for Pharmacy Practice: e-assessment before completing the Vaccination services DoC; they are required to meet or be actively working towards the Consultation Skills for Pharmacy Practice Standards for England.

If you confirm that you are actively working towards the standards, you are declaring that you are undertaking the relevant learning and CPD to meet the standards. It is expected that you will have accessed the standards and associated learning to meet this requirement and that you will complete the assessment within 12 months of signing the DoC statement.

As a pharmacy professional, you should continuously seek to develop your consultation skills throughout your career and, therefore, this topic should regularly feature in your CPD plan. To access the assessment, go to the CPPE website. If you have not yet completed the assessment, you should be able to provide evidence of the consultation skills learning you have undertaken.

Q. Do pharmacists need to complete the safeguarding and consultation skills e-assessment every two years when reviewing their DoC?
This is a decision that needs to be made by the individual pharmacist. A pharmacist is personally responsible for keeping their knowledge and skills up to date and relevant to their roles and responsibilities.  There are regular developments in practice in particular with regard to Safeguarding which require pharmacists to ensure they are aware of new developments in this area.

The pharmacist should reflect on their current competencies and decide whether further learning is required.

It is also important to note that Consultation Skills for Pharmacy Practice is not a ‘tick box’ exercise. As a pharmacy professional, you should continuously seek to develop your consultation skills throughout your career and, therefore, this topic should regularly feature in your CPD plan.

Q. I completed a DoC for the NHS Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service 2018/19. Do I need to complete it again?
Yes. The DoC framework and statement of declaration need to be completed every two years, so if you last completed the Vaccination services DoC in 2018/19, you will need to complete the new vaccination DoC in 2020/21.

As the updated DoC covers all vaccinations, the competency framework should be revisited, and the statement of declaration re-signed whenever a pharmacist starts to offer a service with different vaccines to those that they have previously administered.

Q. How can I find out more?
For more information and to access all DoCs, visit the CPPE website.

 

Training requirements (Supervised clinical practice)

Q. I have heard that the 2018 National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners include a new requirement for supervised clinical practice following training. Is that correct?
A period of supervised clinical practice is recommended, but this is not a new requirement – this was also recommended in the 2005 documents.

Q. Who does the recommendation for a period of supervised clinical practice apply to?
The document states that those new to immunisation should receive comprehensive foundation immunisation training, either through a face to face taught course or a blended approach of both e-learning and a face to face taught course. New immunisers should also have a period of supervised practice and support with a registered healthcare practitioner who is experienced, up to date and competent in immunisation.

Q. Does the recommendation for a period of supervised clinical practice apply to pharmacists who have previously been trained to vaccinate?
If you have vaccinated patients in the past and consider yourself to be an experienced vaccinator, supervised practice would only be required if you feel it would benefit your professional practice, for example, if a long duration of time has passed since you last vaccinated patients.

Q. I am a pharmacist who is commencing immunisation training for the first time, so I can provide the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service. What are the steps I need to take?
If you are a new vaccinator we recommend the following steps:

  1. Complete your core training (face to face and any other learning directed by your training provider);
  2. Complete the Vaccination Services Declaration of Competence (DoC) on the CPPE website;
  3. Undertake a period of supervised practice with a registered healthcare practitioner who is experienced, up to date and competent in immunisation; then
  4. Should any additional training need be identified during your supervised practice, undertake the further training and then review your DoC.

Q. What is the idea behind undertaking a period of supervised practice?
In addition to acquiring knowledge through a theoretical taught course, practitioners need to develop clinical skills in immunisation and apply their knowledge in practice. A period of supervised practice will allow acquisition and observation of clinical skills and application of knowledge to practice when the practitioner is new to immunisation.

Q. What happens during a period of supervised practice?
Before starting to give immunisations, it is recommended that all new immunisers should spend time with an experienced registered practitioner, such as an experienced pharmacist immuniser, who has undertaken training that meets the national minimum standards and is experienced in advising about immunisation and giving vaccines. The new immuniser should have the opportunity in these sessions to observe and discuss relevant issues with the experienced practitioner.

Those new to their role in immunisation should also demonstrate an appropriate standard of practice to their supervisor. This supervised practice should be structured and robust and follow a clear, comprehensive checklist so each step of the consultation is considered. A competency checklist such as that written by PHE and the Royal College or Nursing (see Appendix A of the National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners) should be used for formal assessment and sign-off of the practitioner’s clinical competency in immunisation. A copy of the completed checklist should be retained in the practitioner’s personnel file.

Q. How long should a period of supervised clinical practice be?
PHE advise that there is no agreement or evidence as to how many times supervised practice should occur, but both the supervisor and new practitioner need to feel confident that the practitioner has the necessary skills and knowledge to advise on and/or administer vaccines. If the practitioner administers a range of different vaccines to patients of different ages, their supervisor should ensure this is considered and they should be given the opportunity to observe and also be assessed on this range.

Q. Are there any qualifications which apply to the experienced healthcare practitioner?
The supervisor does not require a formal teaching and assessing qualification but should be competent in immunisation and have the ability to make an assessment of a new immuniser’s knowledge and skills. One of the supervisor’s key roles is to go through the assessment document with the new immuniser and assure themselves that the new immuniser has the appropriate level of knowledge and skill to undertake their role in immunisation.

Q. Can another pharmacist act as the experienced healthcare practitioner within a period of supervised clinical practice?
Yes, as long as the pharmacist is competent in immunisation and has the ability to make an assessment of a new immuniser’s knowledge and skills.

Q. How can a period of supervised clinical practice be arranged?
There are several ways a supervision session could be arranged, for example:

  • At the point of arranging face-to-face immunisation training, trainees could enquire whether the training provider could arrange such a session;
  • New immunisers could speak to the pharmacy contractor they work for to enquire whether they could arrange a supervised session with an experienced immuniser, within the same organisation; or
  • New immunisers could contact local pharmacist colleagues, who are experienced immunisers, and ask them whether they would be willing to supervise a session within their pharmacy.

Promoting the service to patients

Q. I want to develop my own promotional materials for the Flu Vaccination Service, am I allowed to do this?
Yes; however, contractors must ensure they comply with the requirements of the Terms of Service relating to promotion of services funded by the NHS and if the NHS logo is used in materials related to the service, this must comply with the guidelines for use of the NHS identity by community pharmacies.

The Flu Vaccination – promoting the service to patients page on the PSNC website provides links to resources from PSNC, Public Health England and other organisations which contractors can use if they do not want to develop their own materials.

Q. Can a contractor provide a patient with any kind of free gift if they have a vaccination under the Advanced Service?
No. The Terms of Service state that a pharmacy must not offer any gift or reward to any person as an inducement to receive any Advanced Service.

Q. Will pharmacies be sent promotional materials? 
Pharmacy teams may receive promotional materials from their LPC or other local organisations. PSNC promotional materials will not be sent to pharmacies but are freely available to download from psnc.org.uk/flu 

 

Eligible patient groups

Q. If a patient was previously eligible for a flu vaccine but is currently no longer in a risk group, can they still receive a vaccine?
Some patients may have been eligible for a vaccine under the Flu Vaccination Service during previous flu seasons whilst in an at risk group but may no longer be in that group. Examples could include women who were pregnant during the last flu season but are no longer pregnant or patients who were taking regular inhaled steroids during last flu season but are no longer taking them.

Providing that these patients are not in any other risk group as detailed in the service specification, they would not be eligible for a flu vaccination this year under the Flu Vaccination Service.

Q. At what stage of pregnancy should pregnant women be offered the flu vaccine?
All pregnant women should be offered an inactivated influenza vaccine whilst pregnant, regardless of their stage of pregnancy. Studies have demonstrated that pregnant women can safely receive influenza vaccine during pregnancy and that infants also receive some protection from maternal antibodies because of their mother having the vaccination whilst pregnant.

Q. Can the flu vaccine be given to women who are breastfeeding?
Yes. The flu vaccine can be given to breastfeeding women; however, ‘breastfeeding women’ is not an eligible group for the Flu Vaccination Service. Breastfeeding women would only be entitled to a free flu vaccination if they fall into an eligible group listed in the service specification.

Q. If a patient has already received a seasonal flu vaccine this year (e.g. in January), do they still need a vaccine during this flu season (e.g. in September)?
Yes. If the patient received the vaccine produced for the previous season, then they will still need a dose of the vaccine produced for the new season as the vaccine for each season contains different strains.

In addition, the protection gained from flu vaccine is thought to last for one season only, so those eligible to receive the vaccine are recommended to have it every year to ensure on-going protection.

Q. Can a homeless person have an NHS flu vaccination?
A homeless person can have an NHS flu vaccination if they fall into one of the eligible groups for the Flu Vaccination Service. Contractors should also consider the following:

  • The homeless person would need to come into the pharmacy, or come to an agree off-site location that has been assessed by the contractor as suitable to provide the pharmaceutical service for their vaccine;
  • No fixed abode (NFA) can be entered on the record form/IT system in the patient’s address section;
  • If a homeless person is registered with a GP practice, notification would need to be sent to the GP practice if appropriate providing as much identifying information as the pharmacy can provide to allow the GP practice to match the information to the relevant person (some areas have specific homeless patient services to allow GP registration and some encourage registration at any GP practice); and
  • If a homeless person is not registered with a GP, it will not be possible for the notification to be sent to a GP practice, but the service can still be provided to the person. Pharmacy staff could encourage the person to register with a practice and explain how to do this.

Q. A patient has requested a flu vaccination, but they seem generally unwell; can they receive the vaccine?
Vaccination may be postponed in those who are acutely unwell until they have fully recovered. This is to avoid confusing the differential diagnosis of any acute illness by wrongly attributing any signs or symptoms to the adverse effects of the vaccine.

Q. Can immunosuppressed patients have the flu vaccine?
Yes, the inactivated influenza vaccine can be safely given to immunosuppressed individuals though they may have a sub-optimal response to the vaccine. Individuals may be immunosuppressed because of a medical condition or because of medical therapy that they are taking. As these patients are at risk of increased morbidity and mortality if they develop influenza they should be offered the vaccine. Immunosuppression may continue for a number of months following completion of treatment. If there is any uncertainty regarding an individual’s level of immunosuppression, further advice should be taken from their consultant.

Q. Can patients taking steroids have the inactivated flu vaccine?
Yes, patients taking steroids can be safely vaccinated with inactivated flu vaccine. As systemic steroids at a dose equivalent to prednisolone 20mg or more per day are considered to be immunosuppressive, patients taking steroids are at risk of serious illness if they develop flu and so should be vaccinated. Patients that are receiving high-dose steroids may be immunosuppressed for at least 3 months after cessation of treatment.

Q. When should patients having chemotherapy have their flu vaccine?
Patients receiving chemotherapy should receive their vaccine at the earliest opportunity. For individuals due to commence immunosuppressive treatments, inactivated vaccines should ideally be administered at least two weeks before commencement. In some cases, this will not be possible and therefore vaccination may be carried out at any time.

Q. If an individual has had confirmed influenza recently and they are in an at risk group should they still have the vaccine?
Yes, anyone eligible to receive the vaccine should still have it even if they have had confirmed influenza, either recently or in the past. Having the vaccine will help to protect against other circulating strains. The inactivated flu vaccine can be given at any time following recovery providing there are no contraindications to vaccination.

Q. I am unsure whether a patient is eligible to receive a vaccine under the Flu Vaccination Service because their condition is not specifically mentioned as being part of an eligible group in the service specification. What is the best way to proceed?
Pharmacists will need to make a clinical decision as to whether an individual patient falls into an eligible group based on the information in the service specification and consider that eligible groups offered the flu vaccination are those that are most at risk of the complications of flu.  If a pharmacist is unsure if a patient is eligible for an NHS flu vaccination, the patient should be referred to their GP.

Q. Can children receive a flu vaccination under the Flu Vaccination Service?
No. The Flu Vaccination Service is for patients aged 18 years and over who fall into an eligible group; it does not cover children.

Q. Should pharmacy teams check with the patient’s GP practice if the patient has already had a flu vaccination? 
In most cases the patient will be able to verify if they have received a flu vaccination at their GP practice; however, if the patient is unsure, the GP practice should be contacted to confirm whether they have already been vaccinated or not to prevent the risk of the patient being vaccinated twice. This is especially important for patients who fall into vulnerable groups such as those with dementia who may not remember if they have been vaccinated or not.

Q. Can children (2-17 years) be vaccinated under the national service if they are allergic to Fluenz Tetra nasal vaccine?
No.

Q. Should pharmacy teams verify the eligibility of patients requesting flu vaccination under the service?
In many circumstances pharmacy teams will know the patients who are requesting vaccination under the service and they will therefore be able to determine whether a patient falls within an eligible group as a result of the knowledge of the patient and their patient medication record. There will, however, be circumstances where the patient is not known to the pharmacy team. In that case it will be necessary for the pharmacist to talk to the patient and to use their professional judgement to determine whether the patient falls within an eligible group.

Q. Are all people with asthma (aged 18 years or over) eligible for an NHS flu vaccination under the national Flu Vaccination Service?
No. People with asthma are entitled to an NHS flu vaccination if they have asthma that requires continuous or repeated use of inhaled or systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission as stated in the service specification. Therefore, patients who are only prescribed a short-acting β2 agonist to manage their asthma are not entitled to an NHS flu vaccination unless they fall into another eligible group.

Q. Are pharmacy team members an eligible group for flu vaccination within the Advanced Service?
No. Employers may wish to offer pharmacy staff flu vaccinations as part of their occupational health arrangements, but this cannot be undertaken as part of the Advanced Service. If a pharmacy team member is eligible for an NHS flu vaccination and falls into one of the eligible patient groups for the Advanced Service, they would be able to use the service at the pharmacy.

Q. What should I do if a patient requests a vaccination, but they are not eligible under the Advanced Service?
If a patient is not eligible for vaccination under the Advanced Service, but they are eligible for an NHS vaccination (for example, a child in a clinical risk group), they should be referred to their GP practice. If a patient is not eligible for vaccination at NHS expense by any healthcare provider, the patient could be offered a private vaccination service if the pharmacy has appropriate arrangements in place to provide such a service.

Q. Can a patient who lives in one of the other home countries, for example, Wales or Scotland, have an NHS flu vaccine at a pharmacy in England? 
Yes. There are no geographical restrictions placed on the provision of the service to eligible NHS patients.

Q. Is a patient with epilepsy eligible for an NHS flu vaccination under the national Flu Vaccination Service?
No. Epilepsy is not considered a high-risk group for flu; therefore, patients with epilepsy are not entitled to an NHS flu vaccination unless they fall into another eligible group.

Q. Do patients with HIV need to stop their antiretroviral treatment for two weeks after immunisation and not be immunised until 48 hours after stopping the antivirals?
No. The HIV Pharmacy Association of the UK has advised that there is no interaction between the influenza vaccine and antiretrovirals used to treat or prevent HIV infection and recommend that it is safe to give patients on antiretroviral therapy the influenza vaccine without compromising either the vaccine or the patient’s HIV treatment.

Q. Are all workers working within registered care home and domiciliary care organisations eligible to receive the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service?
No. Only those workers directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients are eligible. A worker that has no direct contact with a patient/client is not eligible. For example, a member of the catering staff that serves food to patient/clients would not be considered eligible.

Q. If a person presenting is a social care worker but is also eligible to receive the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service at the community pharmacy because they are part of an ‘at risk’ group, under which risk category should they be recorded?
The person presenting should be recorded under their ‘at risk’ group for their eligibility for the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service.

Q. If a patient has a bleeding disorder or is taking oral anticoagulants, do I need to take any special precautions when giving them their flu vaccine?
Information on providing a flu vaccination to a patient who has a bleeding disorder or is taking oral anticoagulants is available in the PGD.

Q. Can patients with neurological deterioration receive a flu vaccination?
The presence of a neurological condition is not a contraindication to immunisation, but if there is evidence of current neurological deterioration, deferral of vaccination may be considered to avoid incorrect attribution of any change in the underlying condition. The risk of deferring the vaccine should be balanced against the risk of flu and vaccination should be promptly given once the diagnosis and/or the expected course of the condition becomes clear.

This precaution does not apply to individuals with a chronic neurological condition who should be offered vaccine.

Q. Which care home and domiciliary care workers are eligible for the Flu Vaccination Service?
Health and social care staff who are eligible for the Flu Vaccination Service are those aged 18 years and over, employed by a registered residential care/nursing home, registered domiciliary care provider or a voluntary managed hospice provider who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza. Vulnerable means those patients/clients in a clinical risk group for flu or aged 65 years and over, are eligible to be vaccinated by community pharmacies.

Q. Is there a definition of carers who are eligible for the Flu Vaccination Service?
The Carer’s Trust defines a carer as anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. Unpaid carers may or may not be receiving Carer’s Allowance.

A paid carer is someone that is employed to care for a patient and support their individual needs. Paid carers can work in a variety of settings, including residential homes, nursing homes or at home with the patient.   

For the 2020/21 season health and social care workers employed through Direct Payments (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants, to deliver domiciliary care to patients and service users are also eligible for a flu vaccination.

Q. Does a social care worker need to provide evidence that they work within a relevant organisation?
No, that is not required, but if evidence can be provided, it may help speed up the process when they present in the pharmacy. PSNC has provided a template that pharmacies can give to local care provider organisations, for them to add to their letterhead and provide to staff.

Q. How do I verify eligibility for vaccination for the new cohorts?

  • Household contacts of those on the NHS shielded patient list or of immunocompromised individuals should usually be confirmed as living at the same address as the immuno-compromised individual/patient on the shielded patient list. Eligible individuals are expected to share living accommodation with a shielded/immuno-compromised person on most days over the winter, and so continuing close contact in this case would be unavoidable;
  • Social care workers employed through direct payment (personal budgets) and/or personal health budgets, such as personal assistants, to deliver domiciliary care to patients and service users can present a letter agreed by the Government and provided and signed by their employer confirming their eligibility for vaccination; and
  • Other eligible social care workers have been advised that there is no requirement to present ID to receive a vaccination. Social care employers have been advised to provide staff with a letter they can present stating they are a social care worker, which will help show eligibility to providers, but this is not a requirement.

However, at all times, the provider of the flu service should use their own judgement to assess if the patient is eligible if no formal proof is available.

Q. Are people aged 49 years who turn 50 by 31 March 2021 eligible for an NHS flu vaccination?

Yes

Off-site vaccinations

Q. Can I administer flu vaccinations at an individual patient’s home?
Yes. This is permitted where it is requested by the patient.

Q. Do I need to obtain consent from the local NHSE&I team before vaccinating a patient in their own home?
No.

Q. A patient has requested a flu vaccination in their own home; do I need to let the patient’s GP know before I vaccinate the patient?
No.

Q. Do I need to obtain consent from the local NHSE&I team before vaccinating a patient in a care home or care facility?
No.

Q. A care home has requested flu vaccinations for their residents; do I need to let the patients’ GPs know before I vaccinate the patients?
No.

Q. Can community pharmacies provide vaccinations to social care workers or hospice workers at their place of work?
Yes.

Q. Can we provide other services to patients in their homes at the same time as the Flu Vaccination Service, such as MURs?
This may be possible, but contractors must ensure they follow the requirements in the service specification for each service they intend to carry out.

Q. Is there an additional payment for vaccinations administered off-site?
No. Off-site vaccinations are paid at the same rate as vaccinations administered in the pharmacy.

Q. Can I administer flu vaccinations at premises other than the pharmacy?
Yes. Contractors can provide flu vaccinations in a long-stay residential care home, long-stay care facility or at a patient’s own home. In addition, NHSE&I have agreed additional flexibilities for the 2020/21 Flu season. Refer to Flu Vaccination – Outside the consultation room & Off-site vaccinations for details.

Q. Would people living in supported accommodation such as sheltered accommodation fall into the ‘people living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities’?
No. People living in supported accommodation such as sheltered accommodation would not fall under the eligible group ‘people living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities’.

Q. Can patients living in sheltered accommodation receive an off-site flu vaccination?
Yes, if the patient falls into one of the eligible groups as listed in the service specification they can receive an off-site vaccination if they live in sheltered accommodation as this is their place of residence.

Q. Can I administer flu vaccinations at a person’s place of work?
Yes. Provided patients fall under one of the eligible groups.

Q. Are health and social care staff working in sheltered housing accommodation, for example, warden controlled flats, eligible to receive the Flu Vaccination Service?
No. Sheltered housing providers are not regulated by the Care Quality Commission and are therefore not required to be registered, so their staff do not fall within the definition set out in the service specification. However, if a registered domiciliary care provider has staff that attend sheltered housing accommodation to support patients, then these staff will be eligible for the Flu Vaccination Service.

Q. Are health and social care staff working in extra-care housing (also called assisted living) eligible to receive the Flu Vaccination Service?
Yes. Unlike sheltered housing, extra care housing is regulated by the Care Quality Commission. Therefore, if staff are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza these staff would be eligible for the Flu Vaccination Service.

Extra-care housing (also called assisted living) offers more support than sheltered housing but still allows clients to live independently. Clients live in a self-contained flat, with their own front door, but meals may be provided. Personal care and support services are generally available on-site 24 hours a day. Some extra care housing is available to buy or rent privately and some is available from the local council following a needs assessment. This type of housing isn’t available in all areas.

 

Practicalities of service provision

Q. I have not yet received my supply of aTIV for this season or I have run out of aTIV and cannot obtain any further stock. Can I vaccinate people aged 65 years and over with QIVc instead?
The NHS guidance and the PGD require contractors to offer aTIV vaccination to people aged 65 years and over. The guidance and PGD also say QIVc is suitable for use in this age group if aTIV is not available or is not suitable due to egg allergy. The preference however, is for this group of patients to be offered aTIV, because it is considered to be more effective than standard dose non-adjuvanted trivalent and egg-based quadrivalent influenza vaccines.

If aTIV will be available in the near future or is available from other local pharmacies or the patient’s general practice, it would clinically be more appropriate for them to access aTIV from another provider.

Any use of QIVc in this patient group, when aTIV is available elsewhere in the area or when the pharmacy will receive supplies of aTIV in due course, would need to be with the patient’s informed agreement that QIVc is being used instead of aTIV and with the pharmacist having made a professional judgement that administration of QIVc is in the best interests of the patient at that time.

If no aTIV is available and it is unlikely that further supplies will be available, the general use of QIVc in this patient group would then be appropriate.

Q. Will my pharmacy need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to provide the service?
No. The CQC does not regulate community pharmacies in relation to the provision of pharmaceutical services (including administration of vaccines); that is the role of the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Q. What should I do if a patient has inadvertently been given a second dose of inactivated flu vaccine?
It is not harmful to have extra doses of the inactivated flu vaccine. Any adverse reaction to an extra dose is likely to be similar to those commonly seen after a scheduled dose of flu vaccine such as local redness/pain at the injection site, malaise etc. The patient should be offered reassurance and local systems reviewed to prevent this happening again.

Q. Can the inactivated flu vaccine be given at the same time as immunoglobulins and other vaccines?
Yes, the inactivated influenza vaccine can be given safely and effectively at the same time as, or at any interval before or after, any immunoglobulin or other vaccine (whether live or inactivated). The vaccines should be given at separate sites, preferably in different limbs but if given in the same limb, they should be given at least 2.5cm apart and the site of each should be recorded in the patient’s record. Because of the increased risk of local reaction following aTIV should be administered in a separate limb to any other vaccines that need to be given at the same time.

Q. Do you need to expel the air bubble in a pre-filled syringe before administering the flu vaccine?
No, you shouldn’t get rid of the air bubble unless specifically stated in the vaccine’s SPC. To try to expel it risks accidently expelling some of the vaccine and therefore not giving the patient the full dose. The air bubble is also there for a reason – the air injected into the muscle forms an airlock preventing the medication seeping out along the needle tract into subcutaneous tissue and onto the skin. The small bolus of air injected following administration of the vaccine clears the needle and prevents a localised reaction to the vaccination.

Q. What should I do if there is a power failure to the fridge containing the flu vaccines?
You should refer to the Vaccine incident guidance document and the vaccine product’s Summary of Product Characteristics. Further advice could be obtained from your local screening and immunisation team.

Q. Can a pharmacy buy vaccines direct from the manufacturer?
Yes.

Q. Do patients who are not exempt from prescription charges have to pay a prescription charge for the flu vaccination that is administered as part of the service?
No.

Q. Is it mandatory for a pharmacy to have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the service?
Yes. Template SOPs are available from a number of organisations, including the National Pharmacy Association (please note NPA login required).

Q. Do we need to have a needle stick injury procedure?
Yes. Pharmacies should have a needle stick injury procedure in place and all staff involved in the provision of the service should be aware of the contents of the procedure. Template needle stick injury procedures are available from a number of organisations, including the National Pharmacy Association (please note NPA login required).

Q. Do contractors have to arrange their own clinical waste disposal service to dispose of waste resulting from the Flu Vaccination Service?
Yes. Contractors have to arrange their own clinical waste disposal service to dispose of waste resulting from the Flu Vaccination Service when providing the service from the pharmacy and also when providing the service from long-stay residential care homes, other long-stay care facilities and patients’ homes.

Q. Should staff involved in the provision of the service be offered hepatitis B vaccination?
Yes. PHE’s advice in the Green Book is that hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for healthcare workers who may have direct contact with patients’ blood, blood-stained body fluids or tissues. This includes any staff who are at risk of injury from blood-contaminated sharp instruments. The Health and Safety Executive guidance on blood borne viruses provides further advice on this issue.

If a pharmacist refuses a hepatitis B vaccination, contractors should make a record of this, so they can demonstrate that the pharmacist was offered a vaccination.

Q. There is a shortage of adrenaline auto-injectors and we do not have enough stock; how do we proceed if we want to provide the Flu Vaccination Service?
Pharmacy contractors should use adrenaline ampoules instead of AAIs, as all healthcare professionals providing services where anaphylaxis treatment may be required, including but not exclusive to the Flu Vaccination Service, should have the competency to draw up and administer adrenaline from ampoules with a normal syringe and needle.

Q. Will my pharmacy be sent paperwork for the Flu Vaccination Service or do I need to download this from the PSNC website?
Contractors will not be sent paperwork for the Flu Vaccination Service. Paperwork can be downloaded from the PSNC website.

Q. What would normally be contained in an anaphylaxis pack?
The Green Book states that an anaphylaxis pack normally contains two ampoules of adrenaline (epinephrine) 1:1000, four 23G needles and four graduated 1ml syringes, and Laerdal or equivalent masks suitable for children and adults. The mask for children would only be required if the pharmacy is providing a vaccination service to children; the Advanced Service does not include the vaccination of children.

Q. Can I use an adrenaline auto-injector to treat anaphylaxis?
The Green Book states that auto-injectors for self-administration of adrenaline should not be used as a substitute for a proper anaphylaxis pack (see above). However, if an adrenaline auto-injector is the only available adrenaline preparation when treating anaphylaxis, health care providers should use it.

Q. If a pharmacist administers adrenaline in an emergency to treat anaphylaxis, is a PGD required to authorise the administration?
No.  Regulation 238 of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 allows adrenaline to be administered by anyone for the purpose of saving life in an emergency.

Q. How long should a patient be observed for following receiving the flu vaccination to ensure they do not have an anaphylaxis reaction?
The Green Book states in the Anaphylaxis section in Chapter 8 Vaccine safety and the management of adverse events following immunisation (Page 57-58) ‘Onset of anaphylaxis is rapid, typically within minutes, and its clinical course is unpredictable with variable severity and clinical features.

Practical and clinical guidance for vaccine administration from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) – Observation times after administering a vaccine states, the majority of reactions will occur within two minutes and some occur hours later. The advice from the RCN is that there is no need to keep patients waiting unless this is specifically indicated in the summary of product characteristics for a particular vaccine. Due to the unpredictable nature of anaphylactic reactions, it is not possible to define a particular time period over which all individuals should be observed following immunisation to ensure they do not develop anaphylaxis.

Q. What should I do if a patient requests or is eligible for another vaccination, for example, a pneumococcal vaccine?
Unless the pharmacy is commissioned at a local level to provide additional vaccinations, the patient should be referred to their GP practice.

Q. What are the storage requirements for vaccines?
Vaccines should be stored in line with the requirements set out by their manufacturer in the Summary of Product Characteristics. The former National Patient Safety Agency issued an alert in 2010 giving guidance on vaccine cold storage for all healthcare providers, including community pharmacies.

Q. What records should I make if a patient has an adverse reaction to a vaccine?
A record of any adverse reaction from a flu vaccine and any treatment administered or advised should be made by the pharmacy. Where the adverse reaction is deemed to be clinically significant by the pharmacist, this information may also be shared with the patient’s GP (subject to the patient consenting to this). Pharmacists are reminded to report all serious suspected ADRs, even if the effect is well recognised, and all suspected ADRs linked to new medicines and vaccines to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) via the Yellow Card scheme. New medicines and vaccines that are under additional monitoring are indicated by an inverted black triangle symbol (▼) displayed in their package, leaflet and summary of product characteristics.

Pharmacy professionals can report suspected side effects directed to the MHRA electronically via:

Q. What is the latest advice on the personal protective equipment (PPE) required for flu vaccination?

The latest infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance issued jointly by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England and NHS Improvement states that for administration of vaccines, healthcare workers must apply hand hygiene between patients and wear a sessional facemask, it should also be noted that the guidance also recommends implementation is underpinned by patient and procedure risk assessment. When undertaking a risk assessment for vaccine administration, healthcare workers should take into account factors such as the prevalence of COVID-19 infection in their locality, the health status of the person being vaccinated, the route of administration, model of delivery, and any relevant environmental factors. Consideration of these factors will help the immuniser understand the likely risk of exposure to blood, body fluids and respiratory droplets, which in turn will inform the need for any additional PPE. If further help is needed, vaccinators should consult with their local infection prevention and control team.

Record keeping and data requirements

Q. Must patient consent be recorded in writing?
No. Patient consent can be obtained verbally and should be recorded in the pharmacy’s clinical record for the service. A signed consent record is no longer required.

Some patients may be unable to provide verbal or written consent, but this is not synonymous with lacking capacity. The individual just needs to be able to communicate their decision clearly and this decision should then be captured in the pharmacy’s clinical record for the service.

Q. Do I need to get patient consent each time a patient has a flu vaccination? For example, if the patient had a flu vaccination at the pharmacy during the 2019/20 flu season, do I need to get written consent again for the 2020/21 flu season?
Yes. Consent would need to be obtained each time a patient has a flu vaccination. The General Pharmaceutical Council’s publication Guidance on Consent states ‘Getting consent is an ongoing process between you and the patient. Consent cannot be presumed just because it was given on a previous occasion’.

Q. How long should previous consent forms be retained by the pharmacy?
NHSE&I has advised that consent forms should be retained for an appropriate period of time but for the purposes of post-payment verification, the forms should be kept for a minimum of two years after the vaccination takes place. As contractors are the data controller it is for each contractor to determine what the appropriate length of time is, beyond two years.

Specialist Pharmacy Service has published a document called Retention of Pharmacy Records, which recommends that all patient consent forms relating to any Advanced Service or Enhanced Service are kept for six complete tax years.

Q. Will we need to report vaccinations to GPs or to a national reporting system or both?
National paperwork has been developed to allow the notification of the patient’s GP practice of the administration of the vaccine. If IT systems are available that allow the notification of a patient’s GP practice to take place electronically, these should be used.

Q. If a web-based platform such as Sonar or PharmOutcomes is available in my area for the Flu Vaccination Service, do I have to use it?
PSNC would strongly encourage the use of web-based platforms, such as Sonar or PharmOutcomes if they are available in your area as this means that the local NHSE&I team and/or the LPC will be able to access local data to monitor the uptake of the service. It also means the GP notification form will be sent electronically, taking away the need to print out a GP notification form and deliver it to the GP surgery.

Q. If we are using PharmOutcomes or Sonar to notify GP practices that a patient has been vaccinated, is it sufficient to only keep electronic records of the vaccination?
Yes.

Q. Can I vaccinate a person with who seems unable to understand consent? 
Where there is a concern that a patient may not have the capacity to provide informed consent, pharmacists should ensure that an appropriate mental capacity assessment is conducted. A process to support pharmacists meet their responsibility under the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) and provide appropriate care for their patient is available here.

Q.  How should I record vaccination of a patient in the new cohorts?

The service specification has been updated with the new cohorts and they have been reflected on the manual form that pharmacies can use to notify the patient’s GP that a vaccination has taken place. PharmOutcomes and Sonar systems have also been updated to reflect the new cohorts, so this information can be recorded and transmitted electronically to the GP too.

Communicating with GP practices

Q. Does the patient’s GP practice always need to be informed of the vaccination administered to their patient?
Yes. The requirement is that a notification of the vaccination is sent to the patient’s GP practice on the same day the vaccine is administered or on the following working day. If a patient is eligible for a vaccination, but is not registered with a GP practice, it will not be possible for the GP notification to be undertaken by the pharmacy, but the service can be provided to the patient.

Q. A local GP practice is communicating incorrect information to their patients about the community pharmacy Flu Vaccination Service. What should I do?
Talk to the practice manager at the GP practice to raise your concerns and try to get them to correct any misleading information that is being provided to patients. You should also let your LPC know about the matter and agree with them whether they or you will notify the regional NHSE&I team.

Q. Does a GP practice need to know the site of a flu vaccination?
The national GP Practice Notification Form does not include this information. Some GP practices have requested this information from pharmacies, stating that they require this to be recorded in the event that a patient reports an adverse reaction to the vaccine. If in the future this information is required by the GP practice to provide clinical care to the patient, they could ask the patient about the site of the vaccination or if the patient cannot recall this information, the GP practice could request that information from the community pharmacy.

Q. Does a GP practice need to know the manufacturer, batch number and expiry date of flu vaccines administered by a community pharmacy?
The national GP Practice Notification Form does not include this information. Some GP practices have requested this information from pharmacies, stating that they require this to be recorded in their records to allow them to contact patients if there is a drug recall for a specific batch of vaccines. If a drug recall does take place it would be the responsibility of the community pharmacy to identify whether they had vaccinated any patients using the recalled vaccine. The pharmacy would then follow the instructions provided in the recall notice, including contacting patients where this is necessary. That action would not be the responsibility of the patient’s GP practice if they had not administered the vaccine.

 

Claiming payment

Q. How do I claim payment for the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service?
Contractors must claim payment via the NHSBSA Manage Your Service (MYS) application.

Further information on the claims process can be found on the Flu Vaccination – Funding, Claiming and Post Payment Verification page.

Q. Can I make claims for payment via PharmOutcomes or Sonar?
No.

Q. If I send my claim to the NHSBSA a month later than the flu vaccines were administered, will I still get paid?
Yes. Claims for payments for the Flu Vaccination Service should be made monthly; however, claims will be accepted by the NHSBSA within six months of administration of the vaccination or by 31st August 2021, whichever date is earlier, in accordance with the usual Drug Tariff claims process. Later claims will not be processed.

Q. Will NHSBSA accept claims for a few months after the service finishes?
Claims for payments for the Flu Vaccination Service should be made monthly; however, claims will be accepted by the NHSBSA within six months of administration of the vaccination or by 31st August 2021, whichever date is earlier, in accordance with the usual Drug Tariff claims process. Later claims will not be processed.

Funding

Q. Where is the money for the Flu Vaccination Service coming from?
The service fee and the cost of the vaccines administered is being funded from NHSE&I’s budgets.

Q. Will the NHS cover set up costs for the Flu Vaccination Service?
Set up costs that contractors incur will not be separately funded, but they have been considered in the setting of the fees for provision of the service.

Q. Who pays for occupational health services for pharmacy employees, such as provision of hepatitis B vaccinations?
Provision of occupational health services is a responsibility of employers (contractors).

Return to the flu vaccination hub page

 



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