Community pharmacists in England administered 950,765 flu vaccinations to patients under the national NHS Flu Vaccination Service in 2016–2017, according to official figures in the Advanced Service Flu Report, published by the NHS Business Services Authority.
A total of 8,451 community pharmacies in England, almost three quarters (71.2%), delivered the national NHS Flu Vaccination Service in 2016–2017. Each participating pharmacy administered an average of 113 vaccinations, but three pharmacies administered more than 1,000 vaccinations each.
Compared with 2015–2016, 1,256 more community pharmacies delivered the service in the last flu season and overall the sector administered an additional 355,298 vaccines — almost 60% more vaccines than the 595,467 in 2015–2016.
Alastair Buxton, director of NHS Services for the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, which negotiates for community pharmacy contractors in England, says that the figures represent “a real testament to the hard work done by pharmacy teams across the country” and also show “just how keen the public are to access services that have traditionally been provided in other settings from their local community pharmacies.
“Community pharmacy has shown once again that even during difficult times there is a real appetite across the sector to do more to offer patients and local communities more clinical services and to contribute to the public health agenda. Flu vaccinations have been a real success, but there is much more that we could do both to improve patient care and ease the burden on other healthcare providers. As the NHS struggles to manage demands, we hope that its leaders will be taking note,” he says.
A spokesperson for Public Health England says that data on the effectiveness of 2016–2017 vaccine against this year’s circulating flu strains have not yet been published.