A think tank on the impact of longevity on society has urged the government to allow community pharmacists a greater role in delivering flu vaccinations so that access to the programme across the country is improved.

The International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC) called for the government to continue momentum from Covid-19 vaccination programme as winter flu season approaches.

Its new policy briefing published today (Sep 9), however, pointed out that inequalities in vaccination uptake remained prevalent across the country.

It said pretty much like flu vaccination, uptake of the Covid vaccine too had varied between regions of the UK – ranging from a high of 85 per cent in the Southwest of England to a low of 65.7 per cent in London.

Meanwhile, uptake of the Covid vaccine was 27 per cent lower among Black Caribbean populations compared to their White British counterparts.

To raise awareness of vaccines and their benefits as the NHS gears up for the impending winter flu season, ILC called for:

• The NHS to employ community champions, such as religious leaders, teachers and celebrities, to disseminate targeted immunisation messaging to marginalised groups.

• Healthcare workers to encourage individuals to get their flu vaccination during other routine appointments or even deliver them at these times, including at the same time as Covid vaccination top-ups – if proven to be safe and effective.

• All individuals to be granted access all their personal flu vaccination records via the NHS app as well as through an easy-to-access web-based portal.

Dr Lisa Cameron MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Health, said: “The Covid-19 vaccination programme has allowed the nation to tentatively recover from the worst global pandemic in our lifetimes but there is more to be done to address inequality in take up and misinformation so that the most robust response possible for all sectors of society is achieved”.

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