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Influenza (Flu)

Welsh pharmacy flu vaccinations increase ten-fold on same period last year

In September 2020, 16,323 flu vaccinations were given in a community pharmacy setting in Wales as part of the largest flu vaccination programme in British history.

Vaccination close up

Source: Alamy Stock Photo

More than 85% of community pharmacies in Wales are offering flu vaccination services this year

Community pharmacies in Wales delivered ten times more flu vaccines in September 2020 compared with the same month in 2019.

Data published by the Welsh government on 7 October 2020 showed that 16,323 flu vaccinations were given in a community pharmacy setting last month, compared with 1,652 in September 2019.

Like other British nations, Wales has set out on the largest flu vaccination programme in history.

Russell Goodway, chief executive of Community Pharmacy Wales, said that, since October 2019, there had been a 32% increase in the number of community pharmacists accredited to vaccinate, and that 86% of community pharmacies were offering the flu vaccination service this year.

“GP practices and community pharmacies work together to help ensure that as many patients who need to be vaccinated can be and that, between us, we help ensure that Welsh government targets are met,” he added.

In England, data from the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) showed that, as of 7 October 2020, more than 1.3 million NHS flu vaccinations had been given in community pharmacy settings. In the 2019/2020 season, 1,718,147 vaccines were claimed for.

In September 2020, at least 951,353 flu vaccines were given in English community pharmacies: a 2.5-fold increase on the 375,310 given in the same month last year.

Alastair Buxton, director of NHS Services at the PSNC, said that community pharmacists and their teams “have surpassed themselves by administering an incredible number of NHS flu vaccinations so early in the season. We know it hasn’t been easy, with the largest ever eligible patient cohort and demand outstripping supply in most areas, but the community pharmacy sector has once again proved its valuable role in the prevention and public health arena.

“PSNC is continuing to work with DHSC [Department of Health and Social Care] to ensure the sector is able to access vaccines from the government’s backup stock when it starts to be delivered in November [2020]”.

In Scotland, the Coronavirus Act 2020 means that community pharmacies are able to provide NHS flu vaccinations for the first time, although the service is commissioned by local health boards. Many pharmacies in Scotland already offered flu vaccinations on a private basis.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2020.20208435

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