Which travel vaccines are an NHS provision and which are private?

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There has been much confusion about this over many years with a number of surgeries doing different things and no one correcting those who are in the wrong (in the main).  There is a useful piece written about the topic on page 8 of the RCN Competencies document and a very helpful document from the British Medical Association entitled Focus on Travel Immunisation that explains in great details what can and cannot be charged for – when you link to the page, scroll down to the bottom to download the PDF of this document.  These two publications will provide you with all the information required and it is highly recommended you look at both.

To summarise the charges

Travel vaccines that must always be given as part of NHS provision through GMS additional services are:
Hepatitis A, typhoid, cholera and polio and any combination vaccine that has one of these disease protections within the product eg. Revaxis (combined tetanus, polio and diphtheria), combined hepatitis A+B vaccines etc.

Travel vaccines that cannot be given as an NHS service and are therefore private service vaccines are:  
Japanese encephalitis, tick-borne encephalitis, yellow fever and rabies for travel purposes – (please note post exposure treatment vaccine must be an NHS provision).

Travel vaccines that can be given either as an NHS or private service are:
Hepatitis B and meningitis ACWY (it is up to the GP surgery to decide whether they want to provide it as an NHS provision or as a private service – see also specific hepatitis B provision document from the BMA – click here).

Other services
A charge cannot be made for travel advice, or providing a travel record book detailing the vaccines given.   Vaccine certificates for yellow fever and meningitis ACWY can be charged for although this cost is usually included in the total cost of the vaccine provision.  Equipment (e.g. mosquito nets, mosquito repellents, first aid kits etc. can be sold in an NHS setting thus generating income but for further details see the BMA guidance Focus on travel immunisations – guidance for GPs as detailed above.

NHS Choices pages on charging here

A note of interest (08.09.17) when you look at the BMA page for  Focus on Travel Immunisation the website indicates now that meningococcal disease protection for travel (the ACWY conjugate vaccines, Menveo and Nimenrix) are only available privately.  However this contradicts the information in their guidance also available on the same page in the downloads section.  This guidance was written in November 2012 and has not be changed so there is still the option to give this vaccine NHS or privately as detailed above.  However – this is one of the two vaccines that has been discussed in the consultation document about the future of certain NHS drugs – see the piece I wrote in Practice Nurse about it here.

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