Community pharmacies will be asked to vaccinate both residents and staff in the care or nursing homes in a single visit to increase uptake rates during the 2020/2021 flu season.

A joint letter from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Public Health England (PHE) and, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) has also told all frontline workers, including pharmacists, that they should have a flu vaccine this season to protect both themselves and their patients.

The letter noted that the community pharmacies will also be able to vaccinate both residential care or nursing home residents and staff in the home setting in a single visit. This will increase uptake rates and offer further protection to this vulnerable group of patients.

The DHSC said the Community Pharmacy Seasonal Influenza Advanced Service Framework will be amended to offer further protection to these vulnerable group of patients.

To support the increased workload due to the virus pandemic, key stakeholders and the public will be consulted on options to expand the professions able to administer vaccinations.

GP practices will also be able to vaccinate in the residential/care home, residents and staff who are registered with the practice.

The letter has also warned the risk of possible co-circulation of Covid-19 and flu this winter.

Through the current winter season flu vaccination, the government aims to achieve a minimum 75 per cent uptake across all eligible groups to protect the health of those who are vulnerable to hospitalisation and death from Covid-19.

“As part of this, providers are encouraged to put plans in place to try and increase provision amongst those living in the most deprived areas and from BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities, as well as ensuring equality of access. NHSE&I is also developing a national call and recall service to help ensure that all eligible patients are encouraged to get the vaccination,” the letter said.

DHSC has also procured additional national supply of the adult vaccine and will issue guidance in September on how and when this can be accessed by those providers that need it.

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