96-659 / Implementation of The Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Scheme in Retail Pharmacy Businesses

GOP Information
Organisation sharing the GOP
Related practices from PaSQ database
The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI)
Professional licensing
Professional learning program on quality and safety

GOP Description
Implementation level
Clinical settings
There are over 1700 retail pharmacy businesses (“pharmacies”) in the Republic of Ireland. Pharmacists, who have completed the accredited vaccination training programme and where a private area compliant with PSI Guidance is provided at the pharmacy, may elect to provide influenza vaccination services.
To support and ensure the safe and effective implementation of the seasonal influenza vaccination services in pharmacies throughout the Republic of Ireland.
Pharmacists, who have received the accredited training, are permitted to vaccinate patients over 18 years of age.
Legislative change was introduced in October 2011 in the Republic of Ireland, permitting pharmacists to administer influenza vaccine and adrenaline injection (in case of anaphylaxis to flu vaccine). The Council of the PSI approved Accreditation Standards for Influenza Vaccination Training Programmes for Pharmacists. The School of Pharmacy at the University of Dublin, Trinity College was designated as the accrediting body. In 2011, a course on influenza vaccination training, provided by Hibernian Healthcare Ltd, was approved by the accrediting body. In 2012, a course of training provided by Boots Retail (Ireland) Ltd. was approved together with the refresher courses of training provided by Hibernian Healthcare Ltd. for the 2012-2013 Winter ‘flu season’. (Pharmacists wishing to administer the vaccine undergo an initial training programme, followed by refresher courses on an annual basis.) The training programmes include quality assurance procedures in relation to vaccination technique and the management of anaphylaxis and resuscitation. Approximately 1400 pharmacists received training in 2011 and the vaccination service was implemented in almost 500 pharmacies across Republic of Ireland at that time. The PSI issued guidance in 2011 to assist pharmacists in the provision of the vaccination service. Revised guidance was issued for the 2012-2013 season.
Timeframe implementation
In the six month period prior to the implementation of the vaccination scheme, research, development and drafting of guidance and standards for training were finalised. Due to delays in the legislative process, accreditation of training and issuing of Guidance occurred over a very short time frame.
Implementation tools available
Retail pharmacies in countries such as Canada, Portugal and the United Kingdom offer additional services such as influenza vaccination to members of the public. A review of the systems in place for the delivery of influenza vaccination services in retail pharmacies in these countries was carried out to ascertain how these system are structured and how they operate in practice. This information was used to inform the development of the service in Ireland.
Engagement with relevant stakeholders took place including the Department of Health, Health Service Executive (HSE) (provider of public health services in Ireland), the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) of the HSE (responsible for making payments to pharmacists, for the free or reduced cost services they provide to the public), the Irish Pharmacy Union (the representative and professional body for community pharmacists) and large pharmacy chains regarding the development and implementation of this service in retail pharmacies.
Publication of guidance for retail pharmacies on the provision of seasonal influenza vaccination services by their regulatory body the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI). This guidance outlined what retail pharmacies providing these services need to have in place and what the PSI would look for as part of an inspection of a retail pharmacy providing such a service.
Implementation cost
The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) is the regulatory body for pharmacy services in Ireland. The PSI developed guidance for retail pharmacies on the provision of seasonal influenza vaccination services. Therefore, the main costs associated with implementation of this initiative were the staff costs of the staff from the PSI who developed this guidance and who were involved in the roll out of the overall programme. Specific information on the exact staff costs are not available.
Method used to measure the results
The overall objective of this programme was to improve public accessibility to the seasonal influenza vaccine in line with WHO recommendations, Department of Health objectives and the PSI’s role in support for developing the professional role of the pharmacist. Therefore, information was collected in relation to the number of members of the public who availed of the seasonal influenza vaccine in community pharmacy settings.
In the first year of operation of this service (2011-2012) over 8,000 patients were successfully vaccinated with the seasonal influenza vaccine in a community pharmacy setting.
Analysis of the results
The uptake among members of the public to avail of a seasonal influenza vaccine in a community pharmacy setting in the first year of operation of the scheme (2011-2012) highlights that the objective of improving public accessibility to the vaccine is being met.
Implementation barriers
Did you find implementation barriers?
Please describe implementation barriers
1. Some patients did not receive the optimal dose of vaccine required for immunisation due to an error in the training programme.
2. Some Medical Practitioners resisted the involvement of pharmacists in the delivery of influenza vaccination to the public
Describe the strategies used to overcome the barriers (If needed)
1. As a result of the reported underdosing of patients by some pharmacists, the PSI established an independent Risk Review Group to advise on the issues surrounding the error and report on the learnings from this issue. 8 recommendations were made by the group and the PSI has directed that learnings from the report are incorporated into future training and by the new Irish Institute of Pharmacy, which will oversee the management and delivery of continuing professional development (CPD) for pharmacists in Ireland.
2. A meeting with the IMO (Irish Medical Organisation) and medical practitioner representatives was held.
Other information
Other information about the GOP that you would like to add (Link or attached document)