Community pharmacies have been urged to use this season’s flu vaccination programme to “show patients and the NHS what community pharmacy is capable of”.
Pharmacists can begin vaccinating eligible patients from Friday 1 September 2017, with one extra category added to the list of eligible groups for this season, according to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).
Adults aged 18–65 years who are morbidly obese (with a BMI of 40 or more) can now be given the vaccine, and consequently, all the paperwork associated with the service has been updated for 2017–2018, so pharmacists have been told by the PSNC to dispose of any paper forms from previous years.
Last year, 8,451 (around 71%) community pharmacies in England administered 950,765 flu vaccinations to patients under the national NHS Flu Vaccination Service in 2016–2017. This represented 355,298 more vaccines — almost 60% — than the 595,467 delivered in 2015–2016.
Necessary preparations for pharmacies to start administering flu vaccinations include having a consultation room that meets the service requirements and an anaphylaxis pack available. Pharmacies must have ensured all staff involved in delivering the service have received appropriate training. Pharmacists providing the service must have completed the Declaration of Competence and signed a copy of the Patient Group Direction and should consider being vaccinated against hepatitis B.
Finally, NHS England must have been notified of the pharmacy’s intention to provide the service through the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) website.
Alastair Buxton, director of NHS Services at PSNC, said: “I hope that pharmacy teams will really get behind this important service, like they did last year, to show patients and the NHS just what community pharmacy is capable of.”