Pharmacist manager Sabina Yasmin talks to Saša Janković about adding a Yellow Fever vaccination service to her travel vaccination clinic at Harlow Town Pharmacy in Essex.

Service type: Yellow Fever vaccination clinic.

Name and location of pharmacy: Harlow Town Pharmacy, Harlow, Essex.

Name of pharmacist: Sabina Yasmin, pharmacist manager.

Why did you start offering this service?

I was officially trained to offer the Yellow Fever vaccine in November 2020. We saw a definite need for a Yellow Fever Centre and travel vaccination clinic in Harlow.

How much did it cost to set up the service?

The cost was £200 for the training, and the cost to register as a new Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre (YFVC) is £265 per year. After that it's £145 per year to remain a YFVC. Another small cost was to make a yellow fever stamp but this was just something I ordered from Amazon for about £5 – although they are very specific about the small size of the stamp!

What, if any, training did you or other team members have to undergo? 

I had to undertake basic life support and subcutaneous injection training, but this was covered in my flu vaccination training.

For Yellow Fever Vaccine Centres we need to complete an online test before we enrol on the course, then a one-day training with peers. To offer the Yellow Fever vaccine, additional training and exams must be completed directly with NaTHNaC and then your site has to be approved as a Yellow Fever centre. There is a lot more paperwork associated with this vaccine than others, and you have to do compulsory training every year to ensure your knowledge as a vaccinator is up to date.

For my staff, as they are not covered in the administration of the YF vaccine, I've personally explained to them how to navigate the NaTHNaC website to first ensure if the person needs a vaccine before travelling, and to confirm it is a minimum 10 days before they travel. After that, they are able to refer on to me to take the patient through the actual vaccination. 

In a nutshell, what does the service involve? 

Once all the training is done, the process is pretty simple. Like a normal vaccination PGD, certain exclusions and exemptions apply – such as those over 60 or babies under 6 months.

It is vital the vaccine is given 10 days before travel as the date we write on the person’s certificate is 10 days after administration. The certificate must include details of the batch number, the code for my YFVC, pharmacist signature and registration number, and accurate recordings of the person’s passport number and date of birth. If the certificate is not filled in correctly, the person could be refused entry into the country of choice, so this is arguably the most important part of the vaccination process. 

Are there any opportunities to sell OTC or prescription products during or after the consultation?

All we can advise people to do is to take paracetamol for any post-vaccination pain if needed, but in my experience people are always so excited about their trip that the associated arm pain hardly bothers them.

How have patients responded to the service? 

Unfortunately, due to Covid, travelling has been reduced. That said, I have had several phone calls regarding advice about the vaccine and, as I am now suitably trained, I feel very confident providing this advice. 

Roughly how often each month do you carry out the service? 

Our other travel vaccinations are about three a week and YFVC are rarer, but I'm sure as soon as the travel restriction lifts and summer returns, business will be booming.

How much do you charge for the service? 

Each vaccination has a different price. I charge a £10 initial consultation fee for all new patients and then the cost of the injection. I offer Hepatitis B for £60, Rabies for £72 and Japanese Encephalitis for £110. This is the cost per injection, so for example Rabies requires three injections for the full course so the total will be £72 x 3. 

I charge £75 for a YF vaccine and £15 if a new certificate is required, so we made up the initial cost of setting this service up in two or three vaccinations. 

Roughly how much a month do you make from offering the service?

Figures not available.

Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors?

Yes,100%. While being a YFVC has more associated costs than normal travel vaccines, you as a pharmacy will stand out as contractor that provides a service that is not common. We are advertised on the NaTHNaC website as a YFVC and the local surgeries also know we offer this vaccine.

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