More than 275,000 flu vaccinations have been provided by community pharmacies to patients in England in just three weeks, according to the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC).

This number, calculated using data gathered by PharmOutcomes and Sonar, could be even bigger as not all pharmacy teams use these web-based systems to keep track of the number of flu vaccinations they administer, PSNC said.

Alastair Buxton, PSNC director of NHS services, said: ‘As these figures show, community pharmacy teams have once again made a really strong start to the national flu vaccination service and this is a result of all the hard work put in by contractors, pharmacy teams, Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPCs) and others.

‘Every year, a huge amount of effort goes into getting the necessary materials and resources ready and then preparing for the service; so, a very big well done is deserved for all involved.’

Increase year on year

In 2016/17, around 71% of all community pharmacies in England carried out 950,765 flu vaccinations under the NHS flu vaccination service.

Compared to the previous year, this figure shows an increase of 37.4% in the number of flu vaccinations that were provided to patients.

With flu season starting in October and running until May, it’s important that high-risk groups, including the over-65s, pregnant women and people over 18 suffering specific medical conditions, get their free flu jab for 2017/18.

Pharmacy vaccinations ‘valued’ by patients

Mr Buxton continued: ‘The number of patients accessing the service through pharmacies shows how much they value the convenience of pharmacies, and every vaccination is another contribution towards NHS targets.

‘Based on the experience of health services in Australia and New Zealand, this winter is likely to see very high levels of flu, which will put a significant strain on the whole of the NHS.

‘Maximising the number of at-risk patients who are vaccinated is one way that community pharmacy can play its part in helping the wider NHS prepare for winter.’