Service case study: community pharmacists administering children’s nasal flu vaccines

Published on: 28th November 2017 | Updated on: 28th March 2022

What does the service involve?

Community pharmacy teams in Leicestershire have been taking part in a ‘catch-up’ programme allowing them to vaccinate children in school years 1-6 against influenza. After a successful pilot during the 2015/16 flu season, the service was re-commissioned during the 2016/17 flu season and again in 2017/18.

The purpose of the service is to ensure patients and their parents have convenient access to the Fluenz/nasal flu vaccine. Although this is normally administered in schools, there are occasions where children are unable to have this done at school on the day set for vaccinations, for example, if they have a severely blocked nose, fever, wheeze or if they are home-schooled or absent on that day.

In this service, parents are invited to present at a community pharmacy for their child to be vaccinated. When the parent and child attend the pharmacy, the child will undergo a clinical check by the pharmacist to determine whether they are suitable to receive the vaccine. If the child is eligible for vaccination, the vaccine will then be administered.

Why was it commissioned?

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust had previously utilised local clinics to vaccinate those children that missed out on being vaccinated at school, however there were a limited number of locations where the clinics operated and they did not provide much flexibility for access outside of school times.

It was therefore decided that community pharmacies would be utilised to provide second opportunities for children to have the Fluenz/nasal flu vaccine due to their accessibility and existing provision of other vaccinations, which means that their teams are already familiar with provision of such services.

What did the evaluation of the 2015/16 pilot service show?

A total of 1050 letters were sent out to parents offering them a second opportunity to have their child vaccinated; 344 parents responded giving a 33% response rate. Out of those that responded, 240 children (70% of those that responded to the invitation letter and 23% of the full cohort of patients invited) then went on to have the vaccine administered at one of fourteen community pharmacies participating in the pilot.

The pilot evaluation found that all parents stated that they found it easy to have their child vaccinated in the community pharmacy, rated the experience as extremely good and would definitely use the service again if the opportunity was available.

Further details on this service and other local immunisation services can be found on the Community Pharmacy England Services Database.

Top tips from Luvjit Kandula, Chief Officer of Leicestershire & Rutland LPC for other LPCs who wish to implement a similar service:

  • talk to your public health childhood immunisation team and find out the percentage of children who missed out on their school flu vaccination and discuss how pharmacies may increase uptake through a mop-up programme;
  • use the service specification and evaluation from the Leicestershire service to build on its success and demonstrate community pharmacy’s potential; and
  • get the workforce on board: identify pharmacies who are willing to get engaged with the service and inform them in advance of what you are proposing to do.


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