Graham Thoms, chief executive of training provider PharmaDoctor, shares his advice on how contractors can make the most of their MMR jab service
This month, it was revealed that hospital admissions for measles have increased by two-thirds, while mumps cases are at their highest level in a decade.
It follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call for healthcare teams to take ‘urgent action’ to boost uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab, after the World Health Organization announced that the UK was no longer considered measles free.
In response to the ‘alarming’ rise of cases, PharmaDoctor announced it would make its measles patient group direction (PGD) and e-tool free for all community pharmacies in the UK in May, allowing them to offer private MMR vaccines.
PharmaDoctor chief Graham Thoms shares how contractors can promote, optimise and price an MMR vaccination service in their business.
Offering the service is ‘only the start’ and contractors need to be proactive in promoting the service to make a success of it, Mr Thoms said.
He said: ‘Putting up a poster in the pharmacy nowadays isn’t going to cut the mustard. Contractors have got to think about the point of sale materials, things like leaflets or posters that they might create.
‘Probably the biggest thing they can do is make sure that their team is informed and is speaking to people about the service’.
Pharmacies must also make active use of social media to drive traffic to their website, as well as using more traditional advertising methods like word of mouth, Mr Thoms added.
PR over profits
The two vaccines delivered as part of the service cost between £9 and £11 each and most pharmacies look to make about 40% margin by charging between £30 and £40 in total for both jabs, Mr Thoms said.
However, he added that contractors could consider offering the service at cost to their pharmacy by charging only for the price of the vaccines and delivering the jab for free.
The MMR service is ‘not a big money spinner’ as it will probably result in only ‘a handful of patients’ for each pharmacy, Mr Thoms said.
He added: ‘This is more about proving that pharmacy is able to contribute to public health in a positive way.
‘This is a good news story for pharmacy. It’s good in terms of demonstrating how effective they can be from a public health perspective.’