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Flu vaccination programme

NHS Digital is supporting the NHS to maximise the uptake of flu vaccinations.

Information for patients

If you're a patient looking for information about the flu vaccination, visit

This year flu immunisation will be critical to protect those patients who are most vulnerable and to support the resilience of the health and care system. This work is part of the national flu immunisation programme 2020/21, which includes a national ‘call and recall’ service. This service will encourage people who are eligible for a free flu vaccination to have the vaccine and is running in addition to the call and recall services in place locally.

Our role

NHS Digital has been asked by the Secretary of State and NHS England to support the programme by providing flu vaccination data to NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit, the organisation that is providing the national call and recall service on behalf of NHS England. 

We are working with suppliers and colleagues in pharmacy, GP and other settings within health and care where flu vaccinations are provided to ensure the right data is transferred safely, securely and appropriately. All data shared by NHS Digital is subject to our robust rules and information governance processes and will only be supplied where there is a clear legal basis for doing so.

This programme of work is part of the national flu immunisation programme 2020/21 and aligned with national guidance from Public Health England’s Green Book (chapter 19) which details flu immunisation guidance for public health professionals.

What the data will be used for

Data will be processed by NHS Digital, on behalf of NHS England, to enable the management and delivery of the national flu immunisation programme, supporting the drive to reduce pressure on the NHS due to coronavirus. 

This data we process will be used by:

  • NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit for the national flu call and recall service, to drive uptake of vaccines amongst eligible groups - this service requires data about who is eligible to receive a vaccination and who has had the vaccination, so that people in eligible groups can be contacted with a reminder to make an appointment for flu vaccination
  • healthcare professionals through patient records, to ensure that the correct care is given to people who have had the flu vaccine

How the data will be collected

Data will be collected from the following existing national data sets:

  • the Personal Demographics Service (PDS)
  • the General Practice Extraction Service (GPES)
  • Electronic Staff Record (ESR)
  • and community and maternity data sets

Data about vaccinations given will be collected at source from locations where vaccinations are administered. The information will be collected through a variety of clinical and administrative systems, including those in GPs, pharmacy, acute care and child health settings. 

The data collected from these sources will be quality checked by NHS Digital to ensure it is suitable for the purpose we need to collect it.

Who we will share the data with

Data will be shared with NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit, who are delivering the national call and recall service on behalf of NHS England. 

Data about vaccinations provided to patients will also flow into the patient’s GP records. 

Data will also be made available on the Summary Care Record, to enable NHS health professionals administering other vaccines to ensure the clinical safety of patients that have had flu vaccinations.

The data about vaccinations given to children will also be shared with child health organisations responsible for managing Public Health England’s Healthy Child Programme, under section 7a of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This will help those organisations ensure that other childhood vaccinations are aligned with flu immunisation programmes. 

Further information

For further information about these data services, please contact

Last edited: 22 February 2021 9:34 am