Flu training for pharmacists – the standards explained

by | Jun 14, 2023 | Community Pharmacy, Education & Training, Immunisation

Headlines for Pharmacists wishing to vaccinate this Flu season:

  • All vaccinators should undergo Annual Basic Life Support training.
  • Those new to immunising should undergo immunisation foundation training.
  • In Line with National Minimum Standards (UKHSA), immunisers should undergo annual updates to ensure that knowledge and practice remain current.
  • Health Academy have an all in one solution to keep you current and compliant


In August 2022 NHS England published the service specification for the pharmacy flu service. Significantly, a change to the training requirements were announced.

The key changes are:

  • The removal of the reference to “every three years” for the completion of face-to-face injection technique, basic life support & anaphylaxis training.

Which has been replaced with:

  • The pharmacy contractor must ensure that the individuals providing the service have undertaken appropriate training in line with the National Minimum Standards and Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training
  • Annual updates should be undertaken to ensure knowledge and practice remain current

So what do the changes mean for my practice?

For many years in England, pharmacist training around immunisation has been out of sync with other health professionals administering immunisations, as Community Pharmacy England (CPE) points out:

This change aligns the sector with the current vaccination training requirements for nurses and doctors.


The National Minimum Standards & Core Curriculum for Immunisation Training (UKHSA) provides a clear curriculum that should be covered in training for those that are new to immunising and for those that require their annual update training:

If I am an experienced immuniser, is there anything else I need to complete other than my annual immunisation update training?

As registered healthcare professionals, we all have a duty to ensure that as well as completing training, we are also competent to practice. Everyone has a responsibility to reflect on their practice, identify any gaps in knowledge or skills and act upon this. CPE have confirmed that as an alternative to the ‘Declaration of Competence’, pharmacists can use the Flu Vaccinator Competency Assessment Tool developed by the UK Health Security Agency.

What about Basic Life Support & Anaphylaxis?

One of the most contentious issues with previous year’s guidance was the standard that BLS & Anaphylaxis training only needed to be completed every three years for pharmacists in England. This training standard differed from the National Minimum Standards for Immunisation and the Resuscitation Council (UK) guidance which nurses and doctors are required to comply with. These standards stipulate annual updates for Basic Life Support and Anaphylaxis are required:

Specific training in Basic Life Support and anaphylaxis recognition and management should also be undertaken annually or as per employer’s stipulation.

National Minimum Standards for Immunisation Training

Clinical staff should have at least annual updates. Hands-on training using simulation and including assessment is recommended for clinical staff.

Resuscitation Council (UK) – Quality Standards: Primary Care

Community Pharmacy England and NHS England have now aligned with the guidance that other professions follow. Similarly this approach has been adopted in by community pharmacy in Wales.

Requiring your annual Basic Life Support and anaphylaxis training?

Health Academy we are able to provide a number of solutions to help support pharmacists that may be looking for Basic Life Support & Anaphylaxis Training:

If you are looking for courses to update your knowledge and skills for administering flu vaccines this year then check out our range of flu courses for the 2023/24 season.

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