Community pharmacy contractors are reminded that they must ensure that the correct flu vaccines are being used for each patient cohort and that this is being recorded accurately in the patient’s clinical record for the NHS Flu Vaccination Service.
PSNC has been made aware that there have been cases where the standard egg-cultured quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIVe) has been administered in the 65 years and over patient cohort. On investigation, it appears that a number of these errors are due to data input errors; however, it is important to be careful when selecting a flu vaccine for this patient cohort as there is no provision for the use of the QIVe vaccine in patients aged 65 years and over in the NHS Flu Vaccination Service. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised it is not an effective intervention for patients aged 65 years and over.
A poster that summarises which flu vaccines should be used for which cohorts can be found on the GOV.UK website. Contractors could consider printing this out and displaying this in their consultation room so when a vaccine is selected, an additional check could be made against the poster to ensure the correct vaccine has been selected for the patient, depending on the cohort they fall into.
The below table (taken from reimbursement flu letter from the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and the UK Health Security Agency) also details the recommended vaccines that should be used for the respective adult patient groups:
Type of influenza vaccine
Aged 65 years and over*
aQIV (Adjuvanted Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine Seqirus ▼) or
QIVr, (quadrivalent Influenza vaccine (recombinant prepared in cell culture)) (Supemtek ▼)
offer QIVc (Cell-based quadrivalent influenza vaccine▼ or Flucelvax® Tetra▼) (only where aQIV or QIVr is not available).**
It is recommended that aQIV is offered ‘off-label’ to 64-year-olds turning 65 years of age before 31st March 2023.
At-risk adults, including pregnant women, aged 18 to 64
QIVc (Cell-based quadrivalent influenza vaccine▼ or Flucelvax® Tetra▼) or
QIVr, (Supemtek ▼)
offer QIVe (only where QIVc or QIVr is not available).
50- to 64-year olds NOT in a clinical at-risk group
From 15th October 2022 (not before), offer:
QIVc / QIVr (these should only be offered where it does not divert stock from clinical at-risk groups and those age 65 years and over)
* The JCVI recommended the high dose quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIV-HD) is offered alongside aQIV because of the additional benefit from the use of aQIV and QIV-HD in those aged 65 years and over. However, QIV-HD is not currently available in the UK market.
**QIVe is not recommended in this age group as aQIV, QIVc and QIVr are preferable on the grounds of clinical effectiveness.
QIVe can be used for those aged 18-64 in a clinical at-risk group but only if QIVc and QIVr are not available.
Contractors should be aware that NHS England will not reimburse or remunerate incidences where the wrong vaccination has been administered.
Managing incorrect provision
If QIVe has been given to anyone aged 65 years or over, the available guidance advises that the patient is recalled and a risk assessment undertaken to consider re-vaccinating with an appropriate vaccine for their age group.
Guidance on this can be found in The national influenza immunisation programme 2022 to 2023: Information for healthcare practitioners.
If this situation occurs/has occurred, please contact your local NHS England screening and immunisation team for advice, as they may be able to share additional supporting information.
Contractors are encouraged to review their clinical practice to ensure their vaccination provisions are in line with the appropriate guidance and any risk of inappropriate vaccination has been considered and the risks mitigated.
Further details on the service and guidance
Further information on the service, guidance and resources can be found via our Flu Vaccination Service Hub page.