Community pharmacy contractors have been asked to ensure that they have sufficient stock for this autumn’s flu vaccine as demand will likely spike due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint letter issued on Thursday (May 14), the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and, NHS England and Improvement, have asked contractors “to urgently review” their vaccine orders “to make sure the number of vaccines ordered meet at least national ambitions and previous uptakes rates, whichever is highest.”

“We anticipate that concerns about COVID-19 may increase demand for flu vaccination in all groups this year,” the letter stated.

It has also been noted that all those eligible should be given flu vaccination as soon as possible so that individuals are protected when flu begins to circulate.

The letter also suggested that the vaccine providers should aim to schedule their immunisation services to match vaccine supply, usually from September, and complete the delivering the jabs by the end of November, where possible.

The letter pointed out that “guidance will be issued about how to manage the immunisation programme to reflect circumstances nearer the planned start of the programme in September 2020.”

It added that “discussions to consider expansion of the flu programme for this autumn are underway,” hinting that there could be expansions to the eligible groups, which will be announced in due course.

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