Flu Vaccination Service 2020-21

(The following has been added on 8th July 2020)

Flu vaccination service: how can you provide it in a COVID-safe way?

PSNC Briefing 023/20: Early guidance on the 2020/21 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service

In summary the briefing:

  • provides early guidance for contractors and their teams on the regular in-pharmacy vaccination service;
  • highlights the potential scenarios being discussed that may provide additional opportunities to provide the community pharmacy flu vaccination service in other environments;
  • lists considerations that contractors may need to reflect on ahead of the service launch; and
  • highlights other resources which may support contractors to provide the service.

The guidance does highlight that contractors must however note that the changes PSNC is seeking to the flu vaccination service, described in the briefing, have not yet been agreed and may never be agreed by NHSE&I.

COVID-19 Update: Flu Vaccination Service trainingThe latest COVID-19 preparedness letter for community pharmacy from NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) provides further guidance and information on support for pharmacy teams.

The letter brings together a number of recent developments, which we have summarised below.

Flu Vaccination Service training

Following PSNC requesting changes to the usual face-to-face training requirements for the service, Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed that anyone who has undertaken the vaccinations training before and is due to undertake face-to-face training this year can participate in online update training instead, delaying the face-to-face requirement until next year.

NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) has issued a letter to provide advice on ordering appropriate flu vaccines for the 2020/21 season.This follows a review of the latest evidence on influenza vaccines conducted by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the body that advises UK health departments on immunisation, and the issuing of advice on the most effective vaccines for the 2020/21 flu season.The letter says that the following vaccines should be offered:Patients aged 65 years and over
Patients aged 65 years and over should be offered the adjuvanted trivalent vaccine (aTIV).The quadrivalent influenza cell-culture vaccine (QIVc) is also suitable for use in this age group, if aTIV is not available.Please note, while the high-dose trivalent vaccine (TIV-HD) is also a recommended vaccine for this age group, this vaccine has a significantly higher list price for 2020/21. This vaccine will therefore not be commissioned and will not be reimbursed by NHSE&I in 2020/21 – community pharmacy contractors should not order this vaccine to use for the community pharmacy NHS Flu Vaccination Service.

Patients aged 18 years to under 65 years in an at-risk group
Contractors should consider the use of QIVc in the first instance for at-risk adults aged less than 65 years (including pregnant women).

Quadrivalent influenza egg-culture vaccine (QIVe) should also be considered as an alternative to QIVc, subject to the JCVI considerations outlined in the NHSE&I letter.

What should you do now?

Read the letter and begin ordering licensed vaccines as set out in the letter; ordering of these licensed vaccines should not be unnecessarily delayed.

NHSE&I also encourages in their letter that contractors delivering flu immunisation services should consider procuring vaccines from more than one flu vaccine supplier, where this is an option to do so, to minimise any potential risk to vaccine supply.