Community pharmacy flu vaccination uptake rises by 61%

More than 1.2 million people recieved a flu vaccine in a community pharmacy between September and November 2019, marking a vast improvement on vaccine coverage compared with the previous season.

Rack of vaccine vials

The number of flu vaccinations given by community pharmacists in England by November 2019 is almost two-thirds (61%) higher that what was achieved by November 2018.

Figures from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), published on 6 November 2019, show that the community pharmacy flu vaccination service had provided 1,209,667 people with the vaccine since 1 September 2019, according to data recorded on the PharmOutcomes, Healthi, and Sonar systems.

Only 749,245 vaccinations were achieved by November 2018.

Over the whole of the 2018/2019 flu season (September 2018 to March 2019), community pharmacists administered a total of 1,431,538 flu vaccines. The PSNC’s figures show that the number of flu vaccines administered in the 2019/2020 season has already reached 85% of that total, even before paper records are taken into account.

PSNC figures for the 2019/2020 season show that 65% of patients who have been vaccinated in a pharmacy were aged 65 years or older. Some 11.3% of patients receiving a flu vaccine in the pharmacy had a chronic respiratory disease. Patients with diabetes account for 7.9% of pharmacy flu vaccinations while 2.6% of vaccinations were provided to healthcare and social care staff.

Rosie Taylor, head of service development at the PSNC, said: “We are proud of the sector’s hard work to help ease winter healthcare pressures, particularly during this period of change as the new contractual framework is introduced.”

“Many people are choosing the accessibility and convenience of their local pharmacy as the place to get their flu jab. It also can’t hurt that patient surveys in previous years have rated the pharmacy service highly, with 99% of patients saying they would recommend the service to family and friends.

“The PSNC hopes to use the success of the service to make the case for an expanded role for pharmacies in other vaccination programmes, under the national review of vaccination and immunisation.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, November 2019, Vol 303, No 7931;303(7931):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2019.20207311

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