2018/19 Flu Vaccination Guidance
Guidance for pharmacy contractors and general practices on providing the 2018/19 flu vaccination service has today been issued by NHS England, with support from PSNC and the British Medical Association (BMA). The guidance sets out key information required to provide the 2018/19 flu vaccination service, including prioritising patients for vaccination and how to address common patient queries regarding the service.
An accompanying letter, jointly issued by NHS England, PSNC and the BMA, reminds general practices and community pharmacy teams of the clinical recommendations on the most effective flu vaccine for 2018/19 for different patient groups. For the 2018/19 flu vaccination season, adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine (aTIV) (Fluad, Seqirus) should be offered to all those aged 65 and over, whilst adults aged under 65 in clinical at-risk groups should be offered a quadrivalent influenza vaccine.
The guidance sets out a three-phased prioritisation approach to vaccinating patients aged 65 years and over:
- First priority should be given to those aged 75 years and over or those in a care home.
- Second priority should be given to those aged 65-74 years in a clinical risk group.
- Third priority should be given to those aged 65-74 years NOT in a clinical risk group.
Community pharmacy teams should use this information to inform the provision of vaccines from September to November 2018, but where the appropriate vaccine is available, and an eligible patient presents at the pharmacy seeking vaccination, they should be vaccinated at that point. If the recommended vaccine is not available, the patient should be asked to return when vaccine will be available.
Commenting on the publication of the guidance and letter, PSNC’s Director of NHS Services, Alastair Buxton said:
“The use of specific vaccines for the two main patient groups should ensure the impact for patients and the NHS of the 2018/19 vaccination service is greater than in recent years. The phased delivery of aTIV will however present logistical challenges which need to be planned for.”
“All contractors should read the NHS England guidance and consider whether they can adopt a prioritised approach for the vaccination of 65 years and older patients, noting the important guidance that where the appropriate vaccine is available, and an eligible patient presents at the pharmacy seeking vaccination, they should be vaccinated at that point.”
2018/19 community pharmacy service
PSNC is currently working with NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care to finalise the revised documentation for the 2018/19 Flu Vaccination Advanced Service; this is expected to be published later this month.
PSNC is also holding a webinar for pharmacy teams on Wednesday 15th August at 7.30pm.
On the night Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at PSNC, will explain how the Flu Vaccination Advanced Service will differ for 2018/19, highlighting some important changes community pharmacy teams need to be aware of. We will also hear from Ben Tindale, Digitisation Lead for NHS Prescription Services, who will describe the new digital submission process for flu vaccination payment claims.