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Pharmacies can deliver ‘much wider range’ of vaccines


Pharmacies can deliver ‘much wider range’ of vaccines

Community pharmacies can deliver a “much wider range” of NHS vaccinations – but the “inflexibility” of the vaccine distribution network must first be addressed, the PSNC has said.

Responding to an NHS England consultation on its future vaccination strategy, the negotiator said the accessibility and popularity of pharmacies as vaccine providers mean they are equipped to deliver immunisation programmes “beyond flu and Covid-19”.

However, it said one of the key barriers to achieving this “is the apparent inflexibility of the current ImmForm vaccine distribution system for the centrally procured vaccines used in the majority of NHS vaccination programmes”.

The PSNC acknowledged that the current system is unlikely to be overhauled in the short term but suggested: “It may, in time, be possible for the contracting of this system to be reviewed, but alternatively we suggest that UKHSA, DHSC and NHSE consider discussing the opportunities for distributing centrally procured vaccines to pharmacies, through contracts, with a pharmaceutical wholesaler.

“Such companies have already supported the distribution of C-19 vaccine and a similar approach is also being considered for the distribution of centrally procured C-19 antivirals.”

The PSNC also said greater IT interoperability and patient record access for pharmacists will be needed to help pharmacists identify gaps in a patient’s vaccination history and make onward referrals where necessary.

PSNC services director Alastair Buxton said: “We’ve always known, and the evidence supports this, that community pharmacies are one of the most popular and accessible places or people to receive a range of vaccinations.

“In the longer term, if the right funding and support is in place, many pharmacies could help deliver a much wider range of NHS vaccination programmes – giving the public the convenience and service that they want and taking the pressure off our general practice colleagues… it makes perfect sense.”

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