The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has reminded community pharmacy contractors to ensure that they are giving patients the correct flu vaccine and recording it correctly, after cases of the wrong vaccine being used or recorded incorrectly among the 65 and over cohort.

In some cases, it said the standard egg-cultured quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIVe) has been given to patients aged 65 and over.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that the QIVe vaccine is not an effective intervention for patients aged 65 years and over.

However, PSNC said that ‘it appears that a number of these errors are due to data input errors’, meaning that in some cases the correct vaccine had been given but it had been recorded incorrectly.

An NHS spokesperson said: ‘While this issue was found to be mainly a result of data being recorded inaccurately, there is no clinical risk to the small number of patients affected and all providers have been asked to contact those impacted.’

It said that it could not share the number of reported incidents as investigations were still ongoing.

Referring to available guidance, PSNC said that if the QIVe vaccine has been given to anyone aged 65 years or over, the patient should be recalled and a risk assessment undertaken to consider re-vaccinating with an appropriate vaccine for their age group.

It added: ‘It is important to be careful when selecting a flu vaccine for this patient cohort as there is no provision for the use of the QIVe vaccine in patients aged 65 years and over in the NHS Flu Vaccination Service’.

PSNC also said that ‘contractors should be aware that NHS England will not reimburse or remunerate incidences where the wrong vaccination has been administered’

This year, the government made a U-turn on its proposal to scrap the free flu jab for over 65s. Lloyds Pharmacy said that it predicted a further 20% increase on last year in bookings for flu vaccinations.