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London and Yorkshire report record-breaking flu vaccine uptake

Pharmacists in London and West Yorkshire are celebrating record-breaking flu vaccination seasons.

NHS England revealed today (November 28) that 100,000 flu jabs had been delivered by pharmacists across the city for the first time just partway through the season, in a scheme overseen by LPC consortium Pharmacy London. This compared with 67,000 vaccines deliveredacross the whole of last season, NHS England said.

NHS England head of immunisations Kenny Gibson said he was "delighted" that pharmacists in London had reached an "outstanding milestone so early in the flu season". Pharmacy London chief executive Rekha Shah added that "word of mouth" had made the public "far more aware" of the convenience of being vaccinated at a pharmacy.  

Community Pharmacy West Yorkshire (CPWY) also announced this week that more than 7,000 people had been vaccinated by pharmacists in a first for the region. Local contractor Moudy Khodadi said successful pharmacists in the region had all "come to some sort of an understanding" with their local GPs about the best way to vaccinate people.

>Mr Khodadi, owner of Westcliffe Pharmacy in Shipley, said the key to a successful service was collaborating "with GPs, rather than against them". Mr Khodadi had booked 80 per cent of the vaccinations before he had recieved stock of the vaccine, a lesson he learned from GPs, he told C+D yesterday (November 27).

Mr Khodadi said he had not always had good relationships with his local GPs, and pharmacists needed to be willing to make the "first steps" before they saw the "fruits of their labour".

A dedicated vaccination pharmacist

They should also be willing to expand their vaccination service, said Mr Khodadi, who hires a dedicated pharmacist to supply the vaccine on certain days. "It cuts into your profitability, but as a result we've done almost 400 flu vaccines," he said.

"If we'd have ordered in 20 vaccines and thought: ‘just try and get them as they walk in', we wouldn't have been half as successful," he stressed. Mr Khodadi had also started to collect data to decide whether he should offer the nasal flu vaccine next year, he added.

Last week, the all-party pharmacy group (APPG) wrote to all backbench MPs asking them to call for a pharmacy flu service in every constituency.  

How is your flu jab service going this season? 

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