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Pharmacies in England can flag other services to COVID-19 booster jab patients

Community pharmacies in England that are participating in phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme can “advise” patients of other pharmacy services when they come to get their booster jab, NHSE&I has said.

Pharmacy contractors can, “where appropriate”, share health promotion materials, details of other services in their community and signpost patients to an online list of local services, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) wrote in the latest community pharmacy local enhanced service (LES), which was published last week (September 17).

This does not apply to distance-selling pharmacies that, under pharmacy regulations, cannot provide services other than directed services, to “persons who are present at the listed chemist premises”, NHSE&I specified.

Pharmacy contractors can also signpost patients to the flu vaccination service if they indicate “that they have not made arrangements for this vaccination and the patient does not elect to have a co-administered vaccine”, according to the LES specification.

However, NHSE&I warned that contractors cannot use the LES “to influence or seek to persuade a patient to participate in, or obtain, a patient-funded service provided by the pharmacy contractor”.

They must also refrain from “influencing or seeking to persuade” patients to “change their choice of pharmacy” or change where they send their prescription nominations, NHSE&I cautioned.

 

Co-administration and vaccination of non JCVI-recommended cohorts

 

Pharmacies can offer both the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time if possible and “where it is operationally expedient”, NHSE&I added.

Contractors might decide to co-administer both vaccines to “maximise efficiency… and minimise the number of attendances required for patients to receive these vaccinations”, it said.

This follows confirmation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) last week (September 14) that both the COVID-19 and the flu vaccines can be given to patients on the same day.

Pharmacies must offer the booster jabs to patients in the cohorts specified by the JCVI’s final advice, but they might be able to vaccinate patients outside of these cohorts in “exceptional circumstances”.

These might include instances where the contractor can demonstrate this is “clinically appropriate and where resources would otherwise have been wasted” or to “mitigate health inequalities”, NHSE&I wrote.

Earlier this year (July 14), NHSE&I invited pharmacies – including those with a “low capacity site” – to join the booster programme.

Remuneration remains at £12.58 per administration of a vaccination to each patient during phase 3 of the programme. Unlike phase 1 and 2, there will be no state-backed indemnity cover for pharmacy-led sites participating in the programme.

C+D reported last week that that 12 Lloydspharmacy branches will offer COVID-19 booster vaccinations, while Boots and Well are also preparing to support phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, but are yet to finalise numbers.

Superdrug is increasing the number of locations that will administer COVID-19 vaccinations for this autumn's booster programme, it announced last week. 

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