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Flu vaccination service: ‘People like the option of the pharmacy’

vaccine

By Saša Janković

04 Oct 2021

Eleana Manglara, pharmacist at Pyramid Pharmacy in London, talks to Saša Janković about running a flu service at their Oakwood branch.

Service type: Flu vaccination service

Name and location of pharmacy: Pyramid Pharmacy, Oakwood

Name of pharmacist: Eleana Manglara

When did you start offering this service?

I’ve been here two years and it was running before I joined.

Why did you start offering this service?

We know people like the option of being able to come to the pharmacy for their flu jab for lots of different reasons.

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

Once every three years you need to attend face-to-face training, and do refresher training online in the other two years. Next year I’m due to do another face-to-face.

In a nutshell, what does the service involve?

We offer NHS and private flu vaccinations as a walk-in service, although not between the hours of 3-4pm because that’s when we get our delivery so it’s a bit busy in the consultation room, especially if the driver is still here too.

We advertise the service inside and outside our pharmacy to make customers aware – and although we do have a GP surgery next to us which also does flu jabs we have a good relationship with the doctors and receptionists there and they’ve never made any comment on us providing this.

We always have a chat with patients in the consultation room, then fill out the NHS flu service consent form. Then I go through what other medications they take – as someone might be on blood thinner so I need to know that – and ask if they are allergic to any medications or food, and if they had flu injection before. After I’ve given them the jab I’ll tell them to stay in the pharmacy for 5-10 minutes in case of any side effects, but some say they only live close by and will go home, so I advise about minor side effects and to take paracetamol for headache or a temperature. I also tell them to watch out for rash, high temperature or seizures as these can be a sign of anaphylaxis, in which case they need to ring the emergency services.

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

Some people will ask what else they can take during the winter season to protect them, and I’ll recommend things like vitamin c and echinacea.

How have patients responded to the service?

Our pharmacy is in a very mixed demographic area and we do have a good relationship with our patients. They like to talk to us and get our advice, and we often have conversations with people who really do go into detail telling us how they feel. Many people tell us they feel so comfortable with us, and they prefer to get their flu vaccination in the pharmacy rather than the surgery.

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

It’s still early days for us this year but last year we did more than 20 vaccinations a day.

How much do you charge for the service?

We charge £14 for a private flu vaccination although we don’t get asked to do these very often.

Would you recommend offering this service to other contractors?

Yes of course. People like to come to the pharmacy for their flu jabs because at the surgery they find they have to wait and it’s easier and quicker for them here.

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