(Photo: iStock).

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published guidance for community pharmacy contractors to access supplies of flu vaccines procured centrally by the government.

After the success of the seasonal flu immunization programme last year, which resulted in a record uptake of flu vaccines, the DHSC aims to “achieve even higher vaccine uptake rates compared to last year,” it said, in guidance published last week.

DHSC has secured an additional supply of influenza vaccines, as a temporary measure for this year only. The vaccines stocks will be available for NHS trusts, general practices and community pharmacies, to replenish local supplies once they run low.

These stocks will be deployed to areas where it is most needed to maximize the uptake.

Moreover, to keep the process easy and quick, DHSC has kept the same supply route through which pharmacies normally receive their flu vaccines.

Contact wholesalers

The additional stocks will arrive in November, and DHSC will sell some of their centrally procured stock to the pharmacy wholesalers, for further sale to pharmacy contractors.

Community pharmacies should contact their wholesaler for details on what stock is available,” the guidance said.

It specified that it has ordered additional stocks of QIVc, QIVe and QIVr to boost supply.

DHSC has also advised contractors to assess the need for more flu vaccine by analysing the uptake rates in eligible cohorts.

To order more contractors should “contact their regular wholesaler to access additional stock and follow the wholesaler’s process for ordering stock”.

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