Flu vac: start date will be 3rd Oct

NHS England has announced in its Primary Care Bulletin that the start date for the Flu vaccination service for the 2024/25 campaign will be Thursday 3rd October 2024.

This means that the following timings will apply to the commencement of the service in 2024/25, for pharmacies and general practices:

Start date Eligible cohort
From 1st September 2024 Pregnant women
From 3rd October 2024 All other eligible adult patients


Background to the change in timing

The Annual flu letter, published on 12th March 2024, announced the delayed start to the main flu vaccination programme compared to previous years, where the programme had commenced on 1st September.

NHS England’s decision to change the start date for pharmacies and general practices is based on evidence that flu vaccine’s effectiveness can wane over time in adults, so the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised moving the start of the programme for most adults to the beginning of October. This is on the understanding, that the majority of the vaccinations will be completed by the end of November, closer to the time that the flu season commonly starts.

As a result, from 1st September 2024, only pregnant women can be offered vaccinations.

From 3rd October 2024, vaccination of the other adult cohorts can commence.

The service specification is clear that the NHS will not pay for vaccinations administered outside of the announced and authorised dates for vaccination.

Visit our Flu vaccination webpage for further information and resources

Communicating with patients about the later start to the programme

Pharmacy teams will want to explain to their patients about the later start to the programme and why this change has been made by NHS England. We have developed a poster to communicate these messages for use in pharmacies.

Poster for the public on flu vac timing changes

Autumn/winter 2024/25 COVID-19 vaccination programme

NHS England has also advised that although they have not received JCVI advice on what will be required of a possible COVID-19 vaccination programme beyond 31st August 2024, providers should plan for any COVID-19 campaign to start alongside the main flu campaign on 3rd October.

Eligible cohorts for COVID-19 vaccination will be confirmed following the Government’s consideration of advice from the JCVI.

Pharmacies wanting to participate in the autumn/winter 2024/25 COVID-19 vaccination programme can submit an expression of interest to NHS England by 11.59pm on 27th June 2024.

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