Allowing community pharmacies to conduct flu jabs can improve uptake of immunisiation, according to the National Pharmacy Association (NPA).
The NPA has responded to a Department of Health (DH) report suggesting many people with long-term conditions are risking their health by not having a flu jab.
Professor David Salisbury, the DH's director of immunisation, warned that "people do not take flu very seriously but for some, the flu virus can be potentially like-threatening."
The NPA points to the results of a City and Hackney PCT pilot scheme, which showed that including community pharmacy in the flu immunisation programme improved uptake.
The pilot results also suggest that, importantly, GP numbers did not decrease, meaning the pharmacies attracted new patients.
The NPA's Chief Pharmacist, Colette McCreedy, said: "Community pharmacists can identify high-risk patients when dispensing their medication and many pharmacies now have private consultation areas suitable for administering flu vaccinations.
"Currently there are only a handful of patients benefiting from pharmacy-based NHS flu vaccinations. Professor Salisbury's warning of the consequence of low uptake makes a compelling argument to increase access through community pharmacy."
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