Flu vaccination programme 2021-2022: Preliminary Information and an early alert

The 2020-2021 flu season saw an increase in the number of flu vaccinations delivered by community pharmacists. It is likely that there will be a similar or greater demand this year.

Sat 17th July 2021 The PDA

The huge uplift in demand for flu vaccinations during the 2020-2021 programme led to significant logistics issues, especially around vaccination bookings and capacity.

The PDA received a high volume of calls around the flu service arrangements during the 2020-2021 vaccination programme. The situation this year is likely to be even more complex than last year due to the need to co-ordinate the flu vaccination service with the Covid-19 booster vaccinations for eligible cohorts.

Pharmacists who wish to provide the service will need to declare that they have undertaken the requisite training as required for the current 2021-2022 programme. Vaccinations usually start in September and certain updates to the training requirement have already been announced.

Below is further nation-specific information.

England

The annual flu letter and PGD (which provides the legal basis for pharmacists to administer the flu vaccination) and details of eligible groups are awaited but a publication by NHS England seems to indicate that community pharmacies in England should expect to vaccinate at least to the same numbers as the 2020-2021 season.

“Community pharmacies should plan their ordering on the basis of meeting at least the numbers of vaccinations they achieved during the 2020/21 season. Community pharmacy are expected to play a strong role in vaccinating the 50 to 64 year old cohorts to ensure the availability of general practice capacity to continue their focus on flu and COVID vaccination of the most vulnerable clinical cohorts.”

The PSNC has also been informed by NHS England that the requirement for face to face training has now been reinstated for those that need to refresh their training. This means that:

  • pharmacists who were due to refresh their training for the 2020-2021 season and the 2021-2022 will need to complete face to face training and complete their declaration of competence.
  • pharmacists providing the service for the first time must complete face to face training (and other training and assessment as detailed in the Declaration of Competence) before providing the service.

Further details about the training requirements can be found here.

Scotland 

The Scottish Government has already announced their wish to widen the groups eligible for the Flu vaccination. Full details can be found here

The involvement of community pharmacists in the Flu vaccination varies by Health Board and it is not yet clear what the extent of community pharmacist’s involvement in the 2021-2022 flu vaccination programme will be for each Health Board.

Examples from the 2020-2021 training requirement can be found  in the service level document linked here.

Please note that it is highly probable that pharmacists who would have been required to refresh their face to face training for 2020-2021 and this year will have to undertake face to face training for the current 2021-2022 season.

Wales

The Welsh Government has also indicated that community pharmacies should expect to play a large role in the 2021-2022 programme. Further details about the early announcement can be found here.

The document also states:

“Community pharmacies are expected to play a strong role in vaccinating the 50 to 64 year old cohort which will help to ensure the availability of general practice capacity to continue to focus on influenza and COVID vaccination of the most vulnerable clinical cohorts.”

Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) has also been informed about the training requirements and there are some important requirements for Basic Life Support training and full details can be found here.

Northern Ireland

The Health and Social Care Board states that during the 2020-2021 season over 16,800 flu vaccinations were administered in community pharmacies. Plans about the community pharmacy flu vaccination service 2021-2022 have not been published. The training requirements for the 2020-2021 season are detailed here.

Please note that it is highly probable that pharmacists who would have been required to refresh their face to face training for 2020-2021 and this year will have to undertake face to face training for the current 2021-2022 season.

The HSCB website flu vaccination page can be found here.

 

 

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