Calls for early planning for 2024/25 flu vaccination season

Community Pharmacy England has coordinated a joint call from bodies whose members work across the breadth of the NHS flu vaccination programme to press for improved planning ahead of the 2024/25 winter vaccination season.

Pharmacy owners must be able to plan properly for flu vaccination season and they must not be subjected last minute unnecessary changes over start dates or other details.

A joint letter to the Health Secretary signed by our Chief Executive Janet Morrison urges the Department of Health and Social Care, the UK Health Security Agency and NHS England to discuss any planned changes to the 2024/25 winter vaccination programme as soon as possible and to ensure plans are settled well ahead of the start of the season. This follows to-ing and fro-ing around the start of this year’s vaccination programme.

The letter was co-signed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, vaccine manufacturer CSL Seqirus, NHS Confederation Primary Care Network, the Healthcare Distribution Association and the Dispensing Doctors’ Association.

Read the letter

Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at Community Pharmacy England, said:

“Community pharmacy teams always plan their winter vaccination provision many months before the autumn. This year their efforts were hampered in August when NHS England moved the goalposts on the flu vaccination service start date, only to change its mind again a couple of weeks later. This was a shambolic start to the vaccination programme and caused unnecessary work and hassle for pharmacy owners and their teams. This sort of policy to-ing and fro-ing must not be repeated and we hope to begin constructive conversations with NHS and the Government very soon to help next year’s programme run more smoothly for all.”