Update to the funding of influenza vaccine via pharmacies

Update Medicines

In March 2017 PHARMAC notified of its decision to approve changes to the Pharmaceutical Schedule to enable funded influenza vaccine (flu vaccine) to be given to people 65 years and older, and pregnant women in community pharmacies. This was the subject of a consultation letter dated 3 February 2017.

PHARMAC has received several queries about community pharmacists providing funded flu vaccine to eligible people outside of the community pharmacy setting, for example in a rest home setting or other care facilities.

PHARMAC would like to clarify that, it is our understanding, community pharmacy will be entitled to claim payment from their relevant DHB funder (with whom they have a contract for services) for the supply of the influenza vaccine to eligible people in any setting, so long as the Schedule requirements are met.

In summary:

  • From 1 April 2017, people 65 years and over and pregnant women have the option of getting a funded flu vaccine from their general practice or via their community pharmacy.
  • Any pharmacist who has successfully completed a vaccinator training course approved by the Ministry of Health and who is complying with the immunisation standards of the Ministry of Health (a ‘Vaccinator’) can write a prescription for the influenza vaccine which has been directly administered to a patient.
  • Part P of the Community Pharmacy Service Agreement enables community pharmacies with Vaccinators to use a prescription written by their Vaccinator 1) to claim an administration fee and 2) reimbursement for the influenza vaccine given to eligible people (people 65 years and over and pregnant women). This could include influenza vaccination services provided in rest homes or other facilities.

DHBs have the option of enabling pharmacies to claim for the supply of funded vaccines in any setting, for example where they have appropriate integrated care arrangements.  

  • Other people who are eligible to receive funded flu vaccine such as people with chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease or diabetes, still need to go to their general practitioner to get their funded flu vaccine.
  • There is no change to the funding mechanisms for the influenza vaccine given via general practice. 

More information

If you have any questions about this clarification, you can email us at enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz or call our toll free number (9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday) on 0800 66 00 50.