With flu season fast approaching, it’s high time that pharmacists got themselves ready to provide the nationally commissioned vaccination service.
Graham Thoms, chief executive at PharmaDoctor, which supports UK pharmacists to deliver a variety of clinical services including vaccinations, is a pioneer in this field – he started a pharmacy flu jab service 16 years ago. He says pharmacists have a unique advantage because they’ve got a ‘ready-made market coming into the pharmacy every day – so it’s all about grabbing that opportunity’.
Here are his top tips for how to make your pharmacy’s flu vaccination service a success.
1. Plan your flu campaign well in advance
2. Negotiate with vaccine manufacturers for direct supply to secure the highest discount possible
3. Ensure every member of your team knows their role and is telling every customer about the service
4. Consider appointing a ‘flu champion’ – a team member who will make customers and the community aware of your flu jab service
5. View every patient walking through the door as a potential flu jab customer. They will either be entitled to a free jab through the commissioned service or a potential private customer who wants to protect themselves
6. Ensure the team is identifying patients who qualify for a free flu vaccine under the nationally commissioned service when they pick up prescriptions.
7. Begin promoting your flu service early – don’t wait until the season actually starts
8. Contact local businesses and encourage them to pay for their staff to have a flu jab at your pharmacy. For larger businesses you may consider offering on-site vaccinations
9. If there is a university or college near to your pharmacy, contact them to offer a flu jab awareness session and vaccination service for their students.