Flu jab confusion at pharmacies

Can you have your child vaccinated at a high street pharmacy if they don’t qualify for the jab on the NHS? Well, that depends on who you talk to…

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There’s confusion over whether parents of healthy children who don’t qualify for the flu jab on the NHS can take their child to a pharmacy to get the vaccination, reports the Telegraph.

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It’s reported that some parents have been told they can have their children immunised privately at pharmacies, but pharmacies are saying this isn’t always possible, because of company policy or healthcare regulations.

However, the Department of Health said there’s nothing to stop high street chemists offering the flu jab to children, but that it had no control over it and couldn’t force them to give it.

“There are no restrictions on who pharmacies give vaccinations to in a private capacity. If they decide they don’t want to do it, we cannot force them to do it,” said a spokesperson for the Department of Health.

“The vaccine sold at pharmacies is exactly the same as the one administered by the NHS. It is perfectly safe and given to children under the age of 5.

“There is nothing to stop pharmacies from giving it to healthy children under the age of 16.”

However, not all pharmacies are giving the jab to children.

At Boots, according to a spokesperson for the company, the story is that: “In accordance with our registration with the Care Quality Commission, Boots can only offer patients aged 16 years and above a private flu vaccination.” (It’s worth noting the Care Quality Commission has yet to comment on the situation.)

At Lloyds Pharmacy: “It is our company policy not to offer seasonal flu vaccines to under 16s. Our pharmacists are only trained to administer them to adults.”

At Sainsbury’s, the flu jab isn’t available for children under 18. No reason is given on the website as to why this is the case.

At Tesco, the situation is that the jab isn’t available for children under 18, mums-to-be and breastfeeding mums. Again, no reason is given.

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We’d love to hear if you’ve been turned away, or if you’ve managed to have your child vaccinated at a pharmacy…

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