Community pharmacies in England have administered 4.8 million flu vaccinations during the 2021/2022 flu season, data from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has shown. 

This is 73% more than the 2.8 million vaccines the sector administered in the 2020/21 season, when the Government first expanded the eligible cohorts to include 30 million more people including over 50s.  

In an update on the flu vaccine figures published yesterday (4 April), PSNC said the true total number of jabs will be ‘even higher’ as some data is ‘still awaited’.  

The NHS Business Services Authority is expected to publish the finalised data for the 2021/22 season later this year, PSNC added.  

The flu vaccine data, sourced by PharmOutcomes and Sonar Informatics, showed that 8,238 community pharmacy staff took up the vaccine in pharmacies this year after NHSE announced in 2021 that team members in England would be eligible to receive a free flu vaccine. 

However, these figures do not include any private employer-led flu vaccination provisions, PSNC explained.  

Largest vaccine uptake among 50-64s 

Almost half (46%) of flu vaccinations administered in pharmacies this year were for patients between the ages of 50 to 64 years old, which is around 2,211,728 vaccinations PSNC data suggested. 

However, those aged 50 to 64 will no longer be eligible for routine vaccination in 2022/23 unless they fall into a clinical risk group. 

This will ‘likely’ have a ‘downwards impact on the number of vaccinations administered by community pharmacies in the season ahead’, PSNC said. 

This comes as the NHSE&I announced that the NHS flu vaccination programme for 2022/23 will only be offered to patient groups eligible in line with pre-pandemic recommendations next winter.  

Commenting on flu vaccine figures, PSNC director of NHS services Alastair Buxton said: ‘This season’s flu vaccination figures are just incredible. It is a testament to the dedication of community pharmacy teams that they have made such a significant contribution to a key public health programme. 

‘This would be an amazing achievement at the best of times, but even more so when pharmacies have been coping with the impact of the pandemic and wider financial and operational pressures.’ 

He added: ‘I would like to say a huge thank you to all contractors and their teams for working so hard to support their local communities.’