Almost 300 community pharmacies have signed up to deliver measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations after urgent calls to increase uptake.
Public Health England (PHE) this month confirmed that mumps cases in England are at their highest level in a decade while in July the UK was deemed second worst in Europe for vaccinating against measles.
In response to the ‘alarming trend’ of measles cases in the UK, training provider PharmaDoctor announced it would make its measles patient group direction (PGD) and e-tool free for all community pharmacies in the UK, allowing them to offer private MMR vaccines.
The e-tool package is due to go live at the end of September and so far, 282 pharmacists have signed up, PharmaDoctor told The Pharmacist this week (9 September).
‘Crazy’ not to commission pharmacy MMR jab
PharmaDoctor chief Graham Thoms believes it ‘makes sense’ for community pharmacists to be nationally commissioned to deliver an MMR vaccination service since they’re already commissioned to deliver flu jabs.
He said: ‘There’s a pharmacy ready to vaccinate on almost every street corner in the UK. It’s crazy not to use that kind of resource to increase awareness and make [the MMR jab] accessible for patients.’
However, the ‘starting point’ is for pharmacies to start delivering the service privately, he added.
Mr Thoms said: ‘I think that’s the most logical route for pharmacies – get involved with the pilot service, let’s demonstrate the impact that pharmacies can have and then it hopefully becomes a bit of a no-brainer for the service to be commissioned, similar to what happened with flu.
‘That’s our vision for it, if we can make it happen.’