Community pharmacists in England administered at least 221,000 more NHS flu vaccinations during 2016–2017 than the previous year, according to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).
Initial electronic data from the National Flu Vaccination Service show that 817,191 vaccinations were administered between 1 September 2016 and 31 March 2017.
The NHS Business Authority will release the final figure later this year, which will also include vaccinations given at pharmacies not using electronic record systems. In 2015–2016, the total number of vaccinations was 595,467.
“This is a fantastic result for community pharmacy teams and it shows how hard they have worked up and down the country to raise awareness of and provide the Flu Vaccination Service,” says Alistair Buxton, director of NHS services at the PSNC.
“It also shows that more and more patients are valuing the convenience and accessibility of being able to have a flu vaccination administered in a community pharmacy.”
The National Flu Vaccination Service, which has been running since 2015–2016, was established to try to maximise uptake of flu vaccination by at-risk groups. Eligible patients include anyone aged 65 years or over or people aged 18 or over with specific serious medical conditions, such as chronic respiratory, heart, kidney or liver disease, as well as pregnant women and carers.
By September 2016, 8,424 pharmacy contractors in England (72.3%) had signed up to deliver flu vaccinations for the 2016–2017 flu season, compared with 7,195 (60.9%) delivering them the previous year.