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GPhC ‘strongly’ urges pharmacy teams to get vaccinated despite it not being mandatory

pharmacy teams vaccinated

By Isabel Shaw

12 Nov 2021

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has called on pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to have their Covid-19 and flu vaccinations at the ‘earliest opportunity’, despite it not being mandatory for the profession.

This comes as the health secretary announced earlier this week (9 November) that mandatory Covid vaccinations would be introduced for frontline health and social care workers, following a month-long consultation.

Staff who have direct, face-to-face contact with patients in a healthcare setting will have until 1 April 2022 to get both doses of the Covid vaccine unless they are considered exempt.

This will only apply across the CQC-regulated health and social care sector, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

This means that pharmacists in CQC-regulated hospitals and GP practices will be covered by the policy, but community pharmacy teams, regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council, will not.

However, in a statement published on its website yesterday (11 November), the GPhC called on pharmacy teams to ensure they have received both vaccines unless medically exempt.

It also asked pharmacy teams to ‘encourage other members of their team to get vaccinated as well if they are not already.

‘For healthcare workers, getting vaccinated protects the individual, their family, and colleagues, as well as patients and the public,’ it said.

The regulator added: ‘Wherever pharmacy professionals are working we urge them to take up the vaccine.’

From yesterday (11 November), all health and care staff — including pharmacists — who work in care homes are required to be vaccinated against Covid, unless medically exempt.

In October, a survey by the RPS found that over half of pharmacy staff believed that it should be mandatory for health and social care workers to be vaccinated against Covid and the flu to work in healthcare settings.

In September, NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) announced that community pharmacy team members in England are now eligible to receive a free flu vaccine during the 2020/21 vaccine rollout.

Previously, it was up to contractors to offer and cover the costs of flu vaccines for their staff.

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