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Pharmacy an option for child flu vaccinations in DH plan

The latest Department of Health flu plan includes an option for NHS England to commission from "alternative vaccine routes"

Pharmacists in England could be commissioned to deliver flu vaccinations to children this winter, the government has announced.


Although NHS England was likely to commission most vaccinations to children through GPs and schools, it would have the option of using "alternative vaccination routes" such as community pharmacies, the Department of Health (DH) said in its latest flu plan published on Monday (April 28).


The intranasal vaccination scheme would be expanded this year to include children aged four years, as well as those aged two and three years who were offered the vaccination last year, the DH said in a joint plan with NHS England and Public Health England (PHE).


"Alternative vaccination routes" such as community pharmacy could be commissioned to provide vaccinations to children

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Vaccinations will be offered to these children in September, as well as to a wider range of primary school children in 19 pilot areas across the country, the DH said. It forms part of the second phase of the government's plan to gradually extend vaccinations to children of all ages, following a recommendation by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation in 2012.


Last year, community pharmacists in the pilot area of Cumbria were asked to offer flu vaccinations to primary school children. Pharmacies in the area had a vaccine uptake of 35 per cent, the DH reported.


Community pharmacy already played an "increasing role" in delivering both NHS and non-NHS flu services to adults in at-risk groups, the DH said.


"Commissioners may wish to consider the continuation of local innovative services, such as vaccinations by pharmacists, where there is clear evidence of improved easy access and beneficial outcomes," the DH said.


It advised pharmacists delivering the vaccine to make sure they ordered enough stock before the start of the flu season and to use more than one supplier. The DH would "regularly communicate" with manufacturers, wholesalers and pharmacists to ensure there was a sufficient stock of vaccinations, it added.


Earlier this month, primary care organisation NHS Alliance urged NHS England to nationally commission pharmacies to deliver flu vaccinations in an effort to reduce pressure on A&E services over winter. Although pharmacies in London had "stepped up to the mark" to deliver a vaccination across the capitol last winter, it had been introduced too late, NHS Alliance said.


How likely do you think it is that community pharmacies will be commissioned to provide children with flu vaccinations?
 
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1 Comments

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

"Earlier this month, primary care organisation NHS Alliance urged NHS England to nationally commission pharmacies to deliver flu vaccinations in an effort to reduce pressure on A&E services over winter." -------- WHEN IS THIS GOING TO HAPPEN? Lets get the majority first, then we can move to the children or both would be the best thing to do.

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