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Private pharmacy RSV and dengue fever vaccine services launch in UK 'first'

Private respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and dengue fever vaccination services are now available in community pharmacies in a “first” for the sector, a clinical services provider has announced.  

The UK’s “first” private RSV vaccination service package was this week (October 12) launched by Pharmadoctor, C+D can reveal.

The vaccination service is now available to over 12,000 pharmacists partnered with the clinical service provider, Pharmadoctor said in a statement released yesterday (October 14).

Common but highly contagious respiratory virus RSV can be indistinguishable from a cold in healthy adults and older children but can lead to severe respiratory illness like bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants, young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, it added.

Pharmadoctor’s new RSV vaccination service package will “initially” use GSK’s RSV vaccine Arexvy, which was launched in the UK earlier this year, it said.

However, Pharmadoctor added that it plans to include “more RSV vaccine options…as they become available in the UK”.

Patients aged 60 and older are eligible to receive the private vaccine and Pharmadoctor expects pharmacists to be able to charge between £180 and £200 per vaccination, it said.

The Pharmadoctor RSV vaccination service package costs pharmacists £299 per year, or £79 for those with a Pharmadoctor “unlimited package”, it added.


“Pivotal step”


Pharmadoctor’s medical director Dr Colin Davidson said that "making the RSV vaccine available across the UK” is “a pivotal step in addressing the burden of respiratory illnesses” by “not only [protecting] individuals” but also “reducing the broader healthcare strain”.

In June, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended an immunisation programme to protect infants and older adults against RSV.

The JCVI highlighted that the NHS only offers an RSV immunisation programme to “a very small group of infants known to be at very high risk of severe complications”.

But JCVI chair Professor Sir Andrew Pollard said that the JCVI recommended an expanded RSV vaccination programme, saying that the committee recognised “that there is a significant burden of RSV illness in the UK population, which has a considerable impact on the NHS during winter”.


Dengue fever jabs


Meanwhile, Pharmadoctor also told C+D that it is “proudly” offering its partner pharmacies the opportunity to be “the first in the country” to offer their patients vaccination against dengue fever – also as of Thursday.

Pharmadoctor chief executive Graham Thoms said that the provider expects pharmacists will charge between £80 and £90 per dengue vaccination, taking from that a profit margin of around 40%. 

The clinical services provider added that it will be adding manufacturer Takeda’s recently UK licensed dengue vaccine Qdenga to its travel clinic service, which costs pharmacists £699 per year.

The addition is free for pharmacies that have already purchased the travel clinic service, it said.

Patients aged four years old and above will be eligible for the jab, Mr Thoms added. 

Dengue – commonly known as dengue fever - is a mosquito-borne viral infection that is more common in tropical and subtropical climates, Pharmadoctor said.

The incidence of dengue has “grown dramatically” around the world in recent decades, with global cases reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) increasing from just over 500,000 cases in the year 2000 to 5.2 million in 2019, according to the WHO.


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