To help protect community pharmacy teams from seasonal flu and ongoing Covid-19 risks, the NHS in England is asking employers to ensure that all their staff, including locums, are vaccinated as soon as possible.
Community pharmacy employers are asked to encourage and enable staff who are eligible for a free flu jab to take this up, and to make sure all other members of their teams are also vaccinated.
This will meet their responsibility to protect their staff and patients and support the resilience of the health and care system, says the latest Primary Care Bulletin (no 66). It is particularly important to ensure that staff in vulnerable groups, such as Black and Ethnic Minority employees, are adequately protected this winter, it adds.
The public marketing campaign to support the flu vaccination programme is due to commence in October. Vaccinations will be offered to those aged 50-64 in November and December. However, people in this age group cannot be vaccinated under the NHS service until an announcement is made by NHSE&I. The decision on when to start vaccinating this group of patients will be driven by the availability of vaccine and progress made with vaccinating other target groups.
The annual service specification and supporting patient group direction for the Community Pharmacy Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Service was published on 28 August. PSNC has negotiated a number of changes to Service Framework to reduce the burden on contractors and to help them provide the service at a greater scale than before and in a Covid-safe manner:
In addition pharmacies do not now need to: