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Welsh pharmacies deliver record 102,110 flu jabs two months into season

Pharmacies have surpassed the total number of vaccines they administered in the past two flu seasons, Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) has said.

Just two months after the flu immunisation programme launched, community pharmacies in Wales have vaccinated 102,110 people against the seasonal flu, CPW announced in a tweet yesterday (November 2).

“Once again, when NHS Wales needed community pharmacies to step up to the plate to support the most vulnerable people in communities across Wales, the network has delivered a record-breaking flu vaccination service,” a CPW spokesperson told C+D yesterday.

The 2020/21 flu vaccine uptake was the highest ever recorded in Wales, according to NHS Wales chief medical officer Frank Atherton, with 92,500 jabs administered just by pharmacies.

Pharmacies have already surpassed this number in just two months and delivered close to double the amount of flu jabs given in the 2019/2020 season, which stood at 64,094, CPW added.

Pharmacies smashed the previous records while continuing “to face the challenges of the pandemic”, the CPW spokesperson added, “with footfall levels reflecting the fact that community pharmacy’s doors remain open and most services accessible without the need for an appointment”.

The record-breaking flu jab figure demonstrates “the huge contribution [the sector] makes to the NHS in Wales”, CPW said.

 

Programme extensions

 

The Welsh government further extended its flu immunisation programme this year to provide free vaccines to children in secondary school from years seven to 11, while it confirmed last week (October 29) that all primary care workers, including pharmacy teams, will be eligible for a free flu jab this year.

NHS Wales set out its uptake ambitions for the 2021/2022 flu vaccination programme in a circular published on August 4. It aims to increase uptake in cohorts including people aged 50-64 years who are not in a clinical risk group - from a 25% uptake last year to 60% –  in children aged two to three - from 56% to 75% – and NHS Wales healthcare workers – from 65% to 80%.

Meanwhile, community pharmacies in Northern Ireland have delivered 14,200 influenza vaccinations two months into the 2021/2022 season, coming close to last year’s total of 16,700, a Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland spokesperson told C+D today.

C+D reported last week (October 26) that community pharmacies in England had administered almost 2.9 million flu vaccines since the beginning of the 2021/22 programme.

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