Flu Vaccination Service 2021-22
Determination for the Community Pharmacy Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service (CPSIVAS)
An updated Determination for claims associated with offsite provision of the Community Pharmacy Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service has also been made.
The NMS and CPSIVAS Determinations apply from 1 September and will be included in Part VIC of the Drug Tariff from October.
- Service Specification for seasonal flu 2021-22 (revised September 2021) to include vaccinations for all community pharmacy staff who patient face.
- Patient Group Direction Pharmacy Influenza Vaccination
Further details on the 2021/22 flu vaccination programme announced
Further to the updated NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) flu letter published on 1st April 2021, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health England (PHE) and NHSE&I have jointly published a second letter to provide further information on the national flu immunisation programme for 2021/22.
The letter highlights the risk of a lower level of population immunity against influenza because of non-pharmaceutical intervention measures taken to protect the population in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions lift and the population returns to pre-pandemic norms of social mixing and social contact, the letter draws attention to how this could result in the 2021/2022 winter having co-circulation of seasonal influenza virus (and other respiratory viruses) and COVID-19. With modelling suggesting the influenza impact could be up to 50% larger than that typically seen, it reinforces the message that the vaccination programme will be essential to reduce pressure on the health and social care system this winter.
Contractors are advised to read the national flu immunisation programme update letter in full but a summary of the key information for contractors is provided below.
The expanded influenza vaccination programme introduced in the 2020/21 season continues and the letter confirms that the vaccination of 50 to 64-year-olds will, as part of measures to protect those aged 50 years and older from the risk of hospitalisation, also continue as a temporary measure.
Building on the moment of last year’s achievements and the successful roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, the Government wants to achieve an even greater ambition in the 2021/22 season. Additionally, the aim is to reduce levels of inequality with no group or community having an uptake of more than 5% lower than the national average.
As part of this, providers of flu vaccination are encouraged to put plans in place to try and increase provision amongst those living in the most deprived areas and from ethnic minority and underserved communities, as well as ensuring equality of access.
Pharmacy Advanced service documentation
The Directions, service specification and Patient Group Direction for the Community Pharmacy Flu Vaccination Advanced Service 2021/22 will be published in due course; PSNC will inform contractors once these are available through its usual communication channels.
NHSE&I issue guidance on flu vacs for 2021/22
NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) have today, 4th February 2021, issued a letter providing information on the flu vaccines which will be reimbursable under the 2021/22 Community Pharmacy Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service (Flu Vaccination Service).
It is important that all pharmacy contractors that provide the flu vaccination service review the contents of the letter and use the information contained within to inform their ordering of flu vaccine for the season ahead.
It should be noted that the reimbursable vaccines listed in the letter are not the full range of vaccines that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended for use in 2021/22.
The following JCVI-recommended vaccines will be reimbursed as part of the NHS Annual Influenza Vaccination Programme for adults in 2021/22:
Those aged 65 years and over:
- QIVc (where aQIV is not available)
At-risk adults, including pregnant women, aged 18 to less than 65 years:
- QIVe (where QIVc is not available)
The letter notes the JCVI considered the use of QIV-HD in those aged 65, however, because of a significantly higher list price, QIV-HD is not eligible for reimbursement under the NHS Annual Influenza Vaccination programme for 2021/22.
JCVI also considered the use of QIVr in both those aged over 65 and those aged 18 to 64. However, QIVr is not eligible for reimbursement under the NHS Annual Influenza Vaccination programme for 2021/22 at this stage. The letter says further guidance may be issued on this vaccine.
The letter goes on to say community pharmacies should plan their ordering on the basis of meeting at least the numbers of vaccinations they achieved during the 2020/21 season.
Contractors will recognise that the 2020/21 season included additional eligible cohorts, particularly the 50-64 year old group, compared to previous years, but the letter makes no specific reference to the inclusion of this group in the 2021/22 season. The letter does however say:
As with 2020/21, there may be policy developments to extend the eligible cohorts during 2021/22. These developments will be informed by the levels and impact of COVID-19 infection to the population. In this situation, should additional cohorts be introduced, further advice will be communicated as soon as possible.