Community pharmacy teams are all set to receive free flu jabs in the 2021/22 season after the NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) announced securing additional funding for this provision.

The decision follows repeated requests from PSNC (Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee), made over several years, for pharmacy staff to be included as a cohort for vaccination in the NHS Flu Vaccination Service.

Henceforth, frontline staff employed by community pharmacies, primary medical services, primary dental services and general ophthalmic services will be able to have a flu vaccination under the pharmacy and general practice flu services.

Besides, non-clinical staff who are directly involved with the provision of NHS services on a day-to-day basis will also be eligible for vaccination.

Contractors, who have already vaccinated their staff through other means can claim for these vaccinations via their Advanced service claim on the NHSBSA’s Manage Your Service portal.

Besides, contractors will be required to maintain a manual record of the number of primary care staff they vaccinate in the service.

Victory for pharmacy

Commenting on the announcement, Alastair Buxton, director of NHS Services at PSNC said: “This is really welcome news for pharmacy contractors and their teams, and it is right that after such a challenging time during the height of the pandemic and ahead of what is expected to be a tough winter, the NHS provides this additional support.

“For many years, we have asked NHSE&I for pharmacy team members to be eligible for vaccination under the Advanced service and we will continue to push for this to happen on an ongoing basis, to recognise their hard work and dedication in providing their patients and the local population with essential healthcare services.”

Calling it a victory for pharmacists in England as the NHS reversed its position and agreed to provide free flu jabs to pharmacy teams Thorrun Govind, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy board, said: “This is a victory for commonsense.”

She said RPS had called on NHS “to do the right thing” by providing free vaccinations to pharmacists and their teams.

Govind added: “We are delighted the NHS in England has listened and given parity of access to flu vaccination to frontline pharmacy teams, who have played such a vital role in providing healthcare and Covid vaccinations during the pandemic.

“We’re also very pleased that locum staff are included in this move. No pharmacist or member of their team should be considered dispensable and left out of this important public health initiative.”

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