Setting up a flu vaccination service

Flu vaccination is recommended in the UK to protect those at a higher risk of serious morbidity and mortality (see guidance below on “at risk” groups). 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) makes recommendations for the vaccine composition for the seasonal flu immunisation each year, taking into consideration the different strains of the flu. Those patients who have developed a sufficient level of immunity post vaccination are protected against the influenza strains contained within the vaccine.

The flu vaccination is offered free by the NHS (this includes from pharmacies commissioned/contracted to provide the NHS flu vaccination service) to those patients who are in the “at risk” groups, further information on these groups can be found in the following documents:

Those who are not eligible to obtain it free on the NHS can have (subject to screening by a trained pharmacist) the flu vaccination from pharmacies offering the service privately.

It is important to recognise that those who are eligible to obtain the vaccination free on the NHS may also choose to obtain it from the pharmacy privately due to shorter waiting times, convenience, etc.

Sections on this page

  • Why is this guidance important to you?
  • Who needs to read this?
  • Flu vaccination service at the pharmacy
  • Patient Group Direction (PGD) for administering the flu vaccine
  • Points to consider when setting up a flu vaccination service
  • Where to go for more information

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Disposal of waste – Consider arrangements for the collection of clinical waste produced when providing this service i.e. disposal of sharps waste or contaminated blood waste (e.g. hypoallergenic plasters). Equipment used for vaccination including the vaccine should be disposed off in a sharps waste container. You should contact your pharmaceutical waste contractors to arrange for the disposal of this waste.

Communication with other healthcare professionals – Consider having a procedure in place for the pharmacy to communicate to the patient’s GP that the patient has been administered the flu vaccine. Details which you may consider appropriate to include could be patient name and address, date of birth, NHS number (if applicable), vaccine details, date of administration, pharmacy name and contact details (please note: this list is not exhaustive).

This information should only shared with the GP or other healthcare professionals after consent for doing this has been obtained from the patient (see guidance above on consent).
You could also consider informing local GPs and other healthcare professionals in your area that you are planning to provide this service from your pharmacy.


Risk assessment – Before beginning the service you should perform a vaccination risk assessment. You should repeat this after any significant event or major incident, related to the service, and reporting it to the commissioner/contractor of the service, where appropriate for further investigation. Any learning from the incident/event should be shared and implemented to ensure the service is continually improved.