Pharmacy Voice encourages health professionals to work together…
Date: 06 01 2011
Members of the public continue to enquire at pharmacies about the vaccine which protects against seasonal flu strains including the H1N1 swine flu virus. Pharmacy Voice, whose members are the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), the Company Chemists’ Association, (CCA) and the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp), has issued the following update today:
The Department of Health has advised that there is no national shortage of seasonal flu vaccine. There may be local supply issues, but NHS organisations are working together to resolve these.
Where local supply difficulties exist, Pharmacy Voice is encouraging community pharmacies to work with other health professionals such as GPs to ensure that vaccines reach the at risk groups.
Pharmacies can supply against NHS prescriptions for at risk groups where they have vaccine available. However community pharmacy stocks of vaccines are very small – the pharmacy network holds only a tiny proportion of the amount of vaccine available nationally and most pharmacies do not routinely hold flu vaccine. The bulk of the national stock has been supplied to GPs.
Many people have been vaccinated privately, and in some cases within an NHS service, in community pharmacies, and this may still be a convenient option for some people. However most flu vaccinations are administered in the autumn so this service is not currently widely available. It is also important to note that exclusions apply and children are generally not eligible for vaccinations administered privately in pharmacies.
If you are in an at-risk group you should ask your GP about getting vaccinated. You can get the vaccination for free from your GP if you are aged 65 or over, have a serious long term medical condition, are a frontline healthcare worker or are pregnant, or your GP believes you to be at serious risk of developing complications from flu.
Symptoms of the flu include high fever, muscle and joint aches, stuffy nose, sore throat, extreme fatigue and with swine flu, vomiting and diarrhoea. If you have flu-like symptoms and are concerned that you have a flu, stay at home and check your condition with NHS Direct by calling 0845 46 47, or ask someone to visit a community pharmacy on your behalf.
Pharmacy Voice encourages all members of the public to protect themselves against flu by observing good hand hygiene, and to seek appropriate information and support from their community pharmacy.