The approaching seasonal influenza and the resurgence of Covid-19 cases across Europe are going to place an enormous burden on already strained health care services. Implementing flu vaccination programmes in times of Covid-19 will be particularly challenging and it is urgent to put in place effective vaccination campaigns that can help preventing hospitalisations, ensuring adequate access and uptake of flu vaccines especially for at risk groups. PGEU calls on health care authorities to continue and strengthen collaboration with community pharmacists and pharmacy organisations and integrate community pharmacists into national vaccination strategies.
PGEU President, Duarte Santos, stated: “We cannot stop the coronavirus yet, but we can mitigate the detrimental effects of a combination of Covid-19 and seasonal flu on health systems in the next months. We strongly encourage national governments to make use of the widely accessible network of pharmacies across Europe to assist in efficient immunisation strategies and broaden vaccination opportunities.
Community pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals and a trusted source of information. They can play a key role in identifying patients in at risk groups (elderly, patients with chronic diseases, immunocompromised etc.) and increasing public confidence in vaccination.
Pharmacists should be closely involved in the planning of flu vaccination programmes and given adequate support and resources to deliver patient care. As front-line health care providers they should also be included in priority access groups for the flu vaccine”.