Community pharmacists have been told that people in the 50-64 year age bracket cannot be vaccinated until an announcement by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I).
The formal announcement is expected in November or December.
The decision on commencing vaccination of this group of patients will be informed by the availability of vaccine and progress made with vaccinating the other target groups.
The decision to postpone free vaccination for the 50-64-year old age group is being taken to ensure that those most at risk are vaccinated first. However, 50-64 year olds who are in one of the clinical at-risk groups eligible for the flu vaccination can be vaccinated.
“NHSE&I will announce the point from which this group of patients can be vaccinated. Prior to that point, patients aged 50-64 who are not in one of the clinical at-risk groups are not eligible to be vaccinated under this service. Contractors doing so are acting outside the Patient Group Direction (PGD) and therefore will not be able to claim payment for these vaccinations,” the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has said.
In the PGD for this year’s service, it is additionally highlighted that the 50-64 age group will be split down into year groups.
The PGD states that an announcement may relate to just one year group or more than one year group.
Confirmation that the use of this PGD may be extended to a specified year group or groups will be provided with authorisation from the national PGD signatories and will then be published, together with the start date for the extension by NHSE&I.