People administering the flu vaccine need to be confident, competent and have up to date knowledge about the vaccine they are giving, guidance issued by Public Health England (PHE) has emphasised.
In order to tackle Covid-19, delivering this year’s annual flu vaccination programme safely and effectively to as many people as possible will be more important than ever to protect those at risk.
Last month the government announced that, this year, free flu jabs will be offered to anyone aged 50-64, people on the coronavirus shielding list and members of their households, all school year groups up to Year 7, people aged over 65, pregnant women, and those with pre-existing conditions.
In a document on flu immunisation training issued earlier this month, PHE has said there may be more new immunisers this season who have not undertaken flu vaccination training before. This means there will be a need to inform immunisers of the latest developments and provide guidance around where they can obtain training.
“This year, it is more crucial than ever that the flu immunisation programme is effectively delivered to as many of those eligible as possible. This will require confident, competent immunisers,” PHE’s Flu immunisation training recommendations for 2020 to 2021 document says.
“It is vital that flu immunisers are given the time and opportunity to undertake the training they need and that they are supervised and supported in practice as required.”
The document emphasises the need for a high level of knowledge and a positive attitude to immunisation among health practitioners so as to encourage higher flu jab uptake. Training should cover the topics in the core curriculum relevant to their specific area of practice, the flu vaccines they will deliver and their role in delivering the flu vaccine programme.
PHE has highlighted that even those who are experienced immunisers will need to update themselves on:
- groups recommended to receive flu vaccine in the forthcoming flu season
- the different flu vaccines available
- which vaccine should be given to which groups
- any new advice for this flu season
- maximising uptake and delivering vaccines safely in the current pandemic situation
- issues to consider if delivering flu vaccine away from usual premises (such as adequate facilities and equipment to monitor and maintain cold chain, management of anaphylaxis or adverse events).
The PHE guidance states: “It is important that adequate protected and dedicated study time is given to those that need to undertake flu training. Consideration should also be given to the fact that new flu immunisers will require more time for training than those who are updating knowledge acquired in previous flu seasons. In addition, immunisers should be given access to relevant technology to enable them to undertake e-learning and participate in online training sessions.”