Community pharmacists in England have administered the flu vaccine to at least 840,472 people so far this this season, according to figures collated from electronic registers by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).
The PSNC also anticipates that the true figure for those immunised by the end of October 2018 is even higher, since not all pharmacists who offer the vaccine supply details to the PharmOutcomes, Well or Sonar databases that are being tracked.
The figures have been revealed as contractors continue to face ongoing problems with supplies of the adjuvanted trivalent flu vaccine Fluad, which is recommended for patients aged over 65 years. Some pharmacies and GPs have been left short of stock, resulting in members of the public seeking vaccination being turned away.
According to the collated database figures, those who are eligible for a free vaccination because they are aged over 65 years make up between 51.3% and 60.1% of those vaccinated so far by community pharmacists.
During the seasonal flu vaccination programme in 2017, eligible people aged over 65 years made up between 57.4% and 81.0% of those vaccinated in community pharmacy. A total of 1.3 million vaccines were administered by community pharmacists overall.
Meanwhile, the latest figures from Public Health England show that that GP practices have so far vaccinated 33.8% of the over-65s population in England — compared with 53.7% at the same time in 2017.