Welsh pharmacists can start administering flu vaccinations for people aged 50 or over from tomorrow (1 December), the Welsh Government has announced.
This comes after the Government expanded its flu vaccination programme earlier this year to include the over 50s.
The new cohort should expect to be contacted by their GP or can contact their local pharmacy to arrange a vaccination, the Welsh Government said.
Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) welcomed the ‘clarity around vaccinating a new age cohort in Wales’ and said it will ‘prepare to do this in earnest’.
‘This additional age group is a clear addition to the largest ever flu vaccination programme in Wales, and take-up of the vaccine is already extremely high,’ a CPW spokesperson said.
As of October, community pharmacies in Wales had delivered over 61,748 flu vaccines, a 50% increase from the same period last year.
‘With continuing, strong uptake and a new 50-64 cohort included too, without a doubt we will not just be breaking but smashing records this year,’ the spokesperson added.
According to the Welsh Government, an additional 460,000 vaccines were acquired for the 2020/21 flu season, which have been made available to all GP practices and community pharmacies in the country.
Groups eligible for the free vaccine in Wales now include all over 50s, pregnant women, those with certain pre-existing conditions, NHS and social care workers, children up to Year Seven and household contacts of those deemed clinically extremely vulnerable.
Vaughan Gething, minister for health and social services, said: ‘This winter more and more people in Wales are taking-up the offer of a free flu vaccine. We have made great progress to protect the most vulnerable in our community and a further 460,000 people in Wales will now be able to benefit from the protection the vaccine offers them and our NHS services.
‘Extending the flu vaccine to everyone aged 50 or over will help prevent more people from becoming ill and reduce pressure on the NHS this winter. I would urge anyone eligible to follow the example of the huge numbers of people vaccinated already and have the vaccine.
Welsh pharmacists will be paid £11.83 per flu vaccination this year after CPW successfully negotiated a fee uplift of £1.75.
The fee is higher than their English and Scottish counterparts, with pharmacists in Scotland to be paid £8.27, and English pharmacists £10.08.