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Welsh government U-turns on free flu jabs for all primary care workers

All primary care workers in Wales will be eligible for a free flu vaccination this year, the Welsh government has confirmed to C+D. 

This is the first year that pharmacy teams across primary care will be eligible for NHS Wales-funded flu vaccinations themselves.

It appears to be a reversal on the government’s previous decision not to offer free flu jabs to pharmacy workers.

A spokesperson for the Welsh government told C+D last month that, under the flu vaccination service in Wales, unless community pharmacists, pharmacy staff and locums fall into the eligibility categories – those at-risk or over the age of 50 – they would not be offered a free flu vaccination.

“The vaccination of pharmacy staff not in these groups is their employer’s occupational health responsibility,” the spokesperson said at the time.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) reported that locums will also be covered by the free flu vaccination offer. However, this has not yet been confirmed by the Welsh government.

 

Pharmacy teams “should have parity” with NHS staff

 

RPS chair of the Welsh pharmacy board Cheryl Way, welcomed the decision – which follows the professional body’s calls last month for all pharmacy teams to get access to free flu jabs.

“Pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy staff have all played an important role in the delivery of both COVID-19 and flu vaccinations and in providing invaluable care and support to patients and the public throughout the pandemic,” Ms Way said.

“We would like to thank colleagues in the Welsh government for listening to our feedback and  expanding the NHS funded programme of vaccination across all pharmacy teams in Wales.

“We welcome this as we strongly believe that patient-facing pharmacists and their teams should have parity with other NHS staff and colleagues across Great Britain and have NHS funded free flu vaccinations to protect them during the upcoming winter season."

C+D reported last month that community pharmacy teams, including locums, had already been told they were eligible for a free flu vaccination in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

 

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