Layer 1

CCA: Pharmacy needs ‘urgent change’ to this year’s flu service

Malcolm Harrison: Pharmacies "need to innovate" to vaccinate larger numbers of patients
Malcolm Harrison: Pharmacies "need to innovate" to vaccinate larger numbers of patients

The Company Chemists’ Association (CCA) has called for ‘urgent change’ to the 2020/21 flu service following COVID-19, including the supply of PPE to all pharmacy providers.

The provision of sufficient vaccines and personal protective equipment, changes to enable “more flexibility” in the way the flu jab is administered and a national public health campaign are necessary to deliver the programme this winter, the CCA said.

In a policy document published last week (July 10), which focuses on the community pharmacy flu vaccine programme in England, the CCA sets out changes to the service it says are necessary in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although seasonal influenza and COVID-19 are separate diseases, the NHS is facing a “double challenge” of protecting at-risk groups from both COVID-19 and flu, the CCA said.

The representative body called on the government and NHS England to provide enough flu vaccinations to ensure that everyone in an at-risk group can receive the vaccine, and for PPE to be made available to all providers.

Change in regulations

Offering the flu vaccine in an environment that minimises the risk of COVID-19 transmission will mean “ensuring the necessary extra safety precautions, infection control, distancing and PPE are in place to protect the public and those administering the vaccine,” the CCA said.

Regulations will also have to change so that the vaccine can be administered in “different locations and in conjunction with other primary care providers,” it added.

The CCA suggested that the flu jab could be given in places such as town halls and places of worship. This would “allow the vaccine to be administered at scale, while freeing up community pharmacies to focus on vital services and medicine provision,” the policy paper said.

Chief executive Malcolm Harrison said CCA members are “ready and willing” to deliver the vaccine in different environments, such as “car parks, town halls or places of worship”, but current regulations prevent them from doing so.

A widening of the locations in which vaccinations could potentially be carried out was also proposed in an “early guidance document” on the flu service published by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee earlier this month (July 3).

Where the jab is administered within pharmacies, the CCA suggested that part of the branch could be “sectioned off or the doors closed to walk in custom”, to enable pharmacies to “to run a flu clinic in-store”.

“We need to innovate”

Mr Harrison said the sector “urgently” needs the government and NHS to “decide how it will work differently to deliver this year’s flu vaccine”.

“We know that we will need to innovate this year, not only to meet the usual demand for flu vaccinations, but to also deliver the government’s anticipated broadening of those it wishes to receive the vaccine,” he said.

“New models for delivering the flu programme may also help the NHS deliver other vaccines, such as a COVID-19 vaccine, if and when one becomes available,” he added.

Speaking at the annual National Pharmacy Association (NPA) conference – this year held virtually – today (July 13), health secretary Matt Hancock said the government wants this year’s flu vaccine programme to be “biggest in history”, with pharmacies having an “important role to play” in the rollout of the service.

What do you make of the CCA's proposals?

PARESH shah, Community pharmacist

Why not put a stall out on your front door of the pharmacy and deliver it there.

Why go to car parks

Joan Richardson, Locum pharmacist

Car parks equal drive through vaccinations!  Drive up, wind down window and in goes the injection then continue on to a holding area for the requisite time!  Minimal cleaning as person has remained in their own vehicle!

Emma Harrison, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

We are yet to receive details around this year's service, so we need to have that first. Why does everything need to be the last minute?? 

Kirit Shah, Community pharmacist

Pharmacists are expected to do anything required my our masters!

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

He can come  and do my pharmoutcomes and pmr entries in the carpark while I do the vaccinations...and no, you MUSTN'T do them later according to Pharmoutcomes.

a great idea but I know how it will end up.

Meera Sharma, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

yes good point. What is this fixation on car parks??

C A, Community pharmacist

They are big open air spaces and it's easier to maintain 1m social distance in a car park. Plus you don't have to constantly wipe down and disinfect the surface of said car park.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Because a lot of the big out of town Boots stores have them just outside the front door.

Job of the week

Support Pharmacist
Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartl
up to £47,500 dependent on hours (30-40 hours flexible)