Community pharmacists should prioritise vaccinating the over-75s and those who live in care homes during the upcoming flu vaccination service, NHS England has advised.
Guidance for community pharmacies and practices offering the service issued by NHS England, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and the British Medical Association (BMA) set out a three-phased approach to vaccinating patients aged over 65 years of age.
First priority should be to vaccinate those aged 75 years and over and those living in care homes, while second priority should be given to those aged between 65 and 74 years in a clinical risk group, according to the guidance.
Third priority should be to vaccinate those aged between 65 and 74 years who are not in a clinical risk group, the guidance said.
The adjuvanted trivalent flu vaccine (aTIV) should be given to all patients aged 65 and over, while adults aged under 65 in clinical at-risk groups should be offered the quadrivalent flu vaccine, according to the guidance.
Informing vaccine provision
PSNC said community pharmacy teams should use the guidance to ‘inform the provision of vaccines’ from September to November.
It continued: ‘Where the appropriate vaccine is available and an eligible patient presents at the pharmacy seeking vaccination, they should be vaccinated a that point. If the recommended vaccine is not available, the patient should be asked to return when the vaccine will be available.’
PSNC’s director of NHS services Alastair Buxton said: ‘The use of specific vaccines for the two main patient groups should ensure the impact for patients and the NHS of the 2018/19 vaccination service is greater than in recent years. The phased delivery of aTIV will however present logistical challenges which need to be planned for.
‘All contractors should read the NHS England guidance and consider whether they can adopt a prioritised approach for the vaccination of 65 years and older patients, noting the important guidance that where the appropriate vaccine is available, and an eligible patient presents at the pharmacy seeking vaccination, they should be vaccinated at that point.’