NHSE&I letter on flu vaccines for 2022/23
NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) have today (2nd March 2022) published their flu vaccination reimbursement letter for the 2022/23 season.
Reimbursed vaccines and eligible cohorts
The letter provides information on the flu vaccines which will be reimbursable under the 2022/23 Community Pharmacy Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Advanced Service (Flu Vaccination Service), for the two cohorts (65 years and over and at-risk adults aged 18-64).
While the reimbursable vaccines for the coming season remain unchanged, there are changes to the first line vaccination recommendations.
The letter also highlights that in 2022/23, the NHS flu vaccination programme will only be offered to patient groups eligible in line with pre-pandemic recommendations.
The cohorts relevant to the community pharmacy service that were eligible in the 2021/22 season but that are not included in the cohorts for 2022/23 are those aged 50 to 64 years and primary care staff.
Flu vaccine ordering and planning
The letter advises:
- Due to manufacturing processes and commissioning arrangements, some vaccines may only be available in limited quantities. Therefore, it is recommended that orders are placed with more than one manufacturer to ensure providers receive sufficient stock.
- It is not anticipated that any stock will be centrally procured by the Department of Health and Social Care for the 2022/23 season. Community pharmacy contractors are therefore strongly urged to order sufficient volumes of vaccine to serve their eligible populations in order to provide coverage at least equal to and ideally exceeding 2021/22 uptake levels.
It is important that all contractors that provide the Flu Vaccination Service review the contents of the letter and use the information contained within to inform their ordering of flu vaccine for the season ahead.
PSNC has been advised that the manufacturers of vaccines are remaining flexible to meet the needs of the national flu vaccination programme, so where contractors have ordered their vaccines directly with manufacturers and wish to amend their order following the publication of the reimbursement letter, they are advised to contact the manufacturer to discuss this.