This is the fourth year that NHS England has commissioned a national community pharmacy Flu Vaccination Advanced Service, meaning all pharmacies in England can offer an NHS vaccine to eligible patients aged 18 or over, subject to meeting certain requirements. Before the launch of the nationally commissioned service, community pharmacies had been offering flu vaccinations to patients, both NHS funded and privately, for several years.
Community pharmacy flu vaccination services can effectively augment the vaccination service provided by GP practices and provide choice for the patient as to where they are vaccinated.
Information on the community pharmacy based service:
1. Consultation rooms
Most pharmacies now have a private consultation room – which is a requirement to be able to offer the community pharmacy Flu Vaccination Service – meaning community pharmacists have the facilities to offer vaccination services in a private setting.
Many pharmacies have been offering flu vaccinations, both privately and NHS funded, for several years so a significant number of pharmacists are fully trained as vaccinators.
All pharmacists providing the service will have undertaken training which covers the National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training for Registered Healthcare Practitioners. Face-to-face training on injection technique and basic life support is undertaken at least every three years.
Pharmacies will have an anaphylaxis kit available as per the recommendations in the Green Book and pharmacists will undertake face-to-face basic life support training at least every three years.
Pharmacies will use the same vaccines as all other healthcare providers, sourcing from the list of approved vaccinations outlined in the annual flu letter.
5. Pharmacy regulation
Community pharmacists are regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) who also monitor and regulate community pharmacy premises. The GPhC regularly inspects community pharmacies to ensure compliance with their standards. Pharmacies have been inspected by their professional regulator on a regular basis for over a century.
This leaflet explains to patients how they can help protect themselves and their children against flu this coming winter. It includes information for children, eligible adults and pregnant women, and explains why it’s very important that people at increased risk from flu or who care for someone vulnerable to have their free vaccination every year.
For information on which community pharmacies in Herefordshire are offering the service this year can be found below:
N.B. It is advisable to contact the pharmacy beforehand to ensure that they are able to accommodate your requirements since there may be some delays in vaccine deliveries and availability particularly this year.