30 September 2021

Funded influenza vaccinations made available to optometrists in England

In response to a College lead campaign, NHSEI has funded seasonal influenza vaccinations for optometrists and all front-line primary care staff in England.

The College has been calling on NHSEI to fund and make it easier for optometrists in England to access seasonal influenza vaccinations since the start of the pandemic. We recently led a sector-wide letter to NHSEI calling for primary care optometrists and colleagues to have free influenza vaccinations, and in response, NHSEI has now made funding available to support access. 

The College’s Clinical Adviser Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom said, “Optometrists and their teams are a vital pillar of NHS primary care and should have the same rights to flu vaccinations as all other primary care professionals. This funding will help maximise uptake of the flu vaccination for those who want it, protecting staff, patients and helping to keep practices open to provide eye care this influenza season. We hope this sets the precedent for funding to continue in future years.”  

In the NHSEI letter from Dr Nikita Kanani, Medical Director for primary care said, “For this influenza season (1 September 2021 to 31 March 2022) all eligible primary care contractors and their frontline staff, including locums, will be able to receive an influenza vaccination from any general practice or community pharmacy. Primary care contractors and frontline staff are those involved in patient-facing frontline provision of NHS primary care services, including non-clinical reception and counter staff who play an integral part in patient-facing care on a day-to-day basis in primary care settings.” 

The College strongly encourages all optometrists to keep up to date with occupational vaccinations but does not support them to be made mandatory

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