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Superdrug kicks off private flu jab service with £8.79 price point

Superdrug has opened bookings for its private flu vaccination service – with jabs for its health and beauty card holders priced at just £8.79.

Launching bookings for what it is calling the “cheapest private flu vaccination service on the high street”, the multiple revealed this morning (August 18) that patients will be able get their jab at 150 Superdrug branches across the UK “from early September”.

Read more: Pharmacy flu jab appointments already booked for September 'can go ahead’

Only health and beauty card members will get their jab at the discounted £8.79 price point, while non-members will be charged £16.99, Superdrug said.

Meanwhile, Boots is offering its winter flu jab service for £19.95, Lloydspharmacy for £12, Well Pharmacy for £17.99 and Rowlands for £16.99.

 

Launch in September

 

Patients will be able to get their private flu vaccinations from Superdrug from early September, and the multiple confirmed to C+D that it will start offering the NHS flu vaccination service in October.

It follows NHSE’s confirmation last week (August 11) that NHS flu jab appointments that had already been booked for September could still go ahead, despite a delayed start to the service that was only communicated to pharmacies on August 4.

Read more: ‘Deeply frustrating’: CPE slams frozen flu funding amid possible delays to service

While the NHS flu vaccination service usually launches in England on September 1, NHSE  announced on August 10 that NHS flu vaccinations would be available to residents of older adult care homes from October 2, with appointments to be made available to all other eligible groups the following week from October 7.

The decision sparked a backlash from community pharmacy leaders, who branded the delayed start to the service “unacceptable”.

Today, Superdrug said it was anticipating an increase in private flu jab bookings following the delayed launch the NHS service and changes to the patient groups that qualify for a free NHS vaccine.

Read more: Well Pharmacy launches private flu jab bookings early at £17.99

In May, the government revealed that it was scrapping free flu jabs for those aged 50-64. Under the 2023/24 service specification, the following groups qualify for a free NHS flu jab:

  • Those aged 65 years and over
  • Those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
  • Pregnant women
  • All children aged two or three years on August 31, 2023
  • School-aged children (from reception to year 11)
  • Those in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers in receipt of carer’s allowance or the main carers of an elderly or disabled person
  • Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • Frontline workers in a social care setting without an employer led occupational health scheme

Superdrug’s healthcare director Ghada Beal said that the multiple’s waiting list for private flu jabs had “already surpassed the numbers from last year, showing that there’s even more of a demand this year”.

 

Read more: Ghada Beal named new Superdrug healthcare director

 

“It’s great to be able to offer this service at a more accessible price-point for our customers as we know the change in eligibility will affect millions of people,” she added.

 

Under new service specifications, administering the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the NHS flu jab will net community pharmacies £17.12 in the upcoming season – 48p less than GP clinics will receive for precisely the same service.

 

But in C+D's snapshot survey of pharmacy owners held between August 9-11, 74% of 156 contractor respondents said that they would not be offering the COVID-19 jab in their pharmacy for the upcoming season due to a lower administration fee compared to previous seasons.

 

NHSE announced on August 4 that it would reduce the fee paid to community pharmacies for COVID-19 vaccinations by 25% – from £10 to £7.54 – as it launched the expression of interest process for autumn 2023.

 

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