Almost every patient vaccinated against flu at a community pharmacy last winter would have their vaccination there again, a patient satisfaction survey carried out by NHS England has found.
Around 100,000 patients responded to the survey on the 2016–2017 flu vaccination programme, and 99% of them said they would have the vaccination at a community pharmacy again, and recommend the service to their family and friends.
Of those questioned, 98% said they were “very satisfied” with the service they received, and 15% said they might not have had a flu vaccination if the service had not been available at a pharmacy.
Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) described the results as “very encouraging”.
“The results of the patient questionnaire from last year show just how much patients value the accessibility of the community pharmacy flu vaccination service,” he said.
“Of course, it comes as no surprise given that pharmacies allow patients to have their flu vaccination without needing to make an appointment and at a time and place that is convenient to them.”
More data on last year’s flu vaccination programme published by NHS Digital on 20 September 2017 showed that 41.5% of three-year-olds and 33.9% of four-year-olds in England were immunised against influenza as part of last year’s vaccination programme.
This was an increase on uptake from 2015–2016, when 37.7% of three-year-olds were vaccinated, and 30% of four-year-olds were given the vaccine.
Influenza vaccination for healthy children was initiated in 2013–2014 for children aged two and three years old. By 2016–2017 the programme had been extended to include children up to the age of seven, and this year it has been extended further to also include eight-year-old children.
“The target in the UK for routine immunisation uptake is around 95% to ensure prevention of disease spread — therefore these figures would seem low in comparison; however, influenza has not been part of the routine schedule for very long,” said Faye Chappell, a pharmacist specialising in paediatric infectious diseases at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.
“Children are a particularly at-risk group and we would encourage all parents to ensure their children are vaccinated — this also helps to protect those children who for various reasons may not be able to be vaccinated.”