Community pharmacies in England could be on track to administer a record 3 million flu vaccines this winter, PSNC has said.

Over 1.8 million people have already been vaccinated in pharmacies this autumn, a 30% increase compared to the same time last year, according to data published by PSNC yesterday (14 October).

The Government hopes to vaccinate over 35 million people across the UK this winter, after an increase in the number of eligible groups. This would build on last year’s record-breaking flu vaccination programme, which saw 19 million people vaccinated after aiming for 30 million.

Pharmacies across the country have reported an unprecedented increase in demand for the vaccine, following the heightened public health vaccination campaign and greater awareness around the dangers of Covid-19 combined with other respiratory issues.

Earlier this week, the Government announced it had secured additional vaccines ‘as a temporary measure for this year only’.

These supplies can be ordered by pharmacies ’to top up local supplies once they run low and will be deployed to areas where it is most needed to maximise uptake’, the Government said.

Alastair Buxton, PSNC Director of NHS Services, said: ‘Local pharmacy teams have been leading the way in the NHS efforts to vaccinate a record number of people against flu.

‘This is another brilliant performance by pharmacies and it reflects the hard work that contractors have been doing to prepare for a bumper flu vaccination season.’

He added: ‘We are on track for another record vaccination season: this shows just how much patients value the sector, and it will once again underline just how vital the pharmacy network is in meeting our nation’s public health needs.’

Figures from PSNC show that community pharmacies in England vaccinated 2,617,628 during the 2020/21 programme, over one million more than the sector achieved in the entire flu season last year.