The team at PSNC has received a number of queries on the NHS Flu Vaccination Service 2017/18. Below are some of the questions asked in recent weeks.
Q. When I seek consent from NHS England to vaccinate patients in a care home (under the NHS Advanced Service), do I first need to inform the patients’ GP practices that the pharmacy has been asked to undertake the vaccinations?
Yes. The requirements in Annex C of the service specification includes the need to contact each patient’s GP practice prior to seeking consent from the local NHS England team. The request form sent to NHS England requires the contractor to declare that they have undertaken this already, so it is imperative that this is undertaken before the declaration is completed.
Q. At what stage of pregnancy should pregnant women be offered the flu vaccine?
All pregnant women should be offered an inactivated influenza vaccine whilst pregnant, regardless of their stage of pregnancy. Studies have demonstrated that pregnant women can safely receive influenza vaccine during pregnancy and that infants also receive some protection from maternal antibodies as a result of their mother having the vaccination whilst pregnant.
Q. If an individual has had confirmed influenza recently and they are in an at risk group should they still have the vaccine?
Yes, anyone eligible to receive the vaccine should still have it even if they have had confirmed influenza, either recently or in the past. Having the vaccine will help to protect against other circulating strains. The inactivated flu vaccine can be given at any time following recovery providing there are no contraindications to vaccination.
Q. Should pharmacy teams check with the patient’s GP practice if the patient has already had a flu vaccination?
In most cases the patient will be able to verify if they have received a flu vaccination at their GP practice; however, if the patient is unsure then the GP practice should be contacted to confirm whether they have already been vaccinated or not to prevent the risk of the patient being vaccinated twice. This is especially important for patients who fall into vulnerable groups such as those with dementia who may not remember if they have been vaccinated or not.
Q. Are pharmacy team members an eligible group for flu vaccination within the Advanced Service?
No. Employers may wish to offer pharmacy staff flu vaccinations as part of their occupational health arrangements, but this cannot be undertaken as part of the Advanced Service. If a pharmacy team member is eligible for an NHS flu vaccination and falls into one of the eligible patient groups for the Advanced Service, they would be able to use the service at the pharmacy.
More FAQs on flu can be viewed at psnc.org.uk/flufaqs