Frontline pharmacists and their staff must be included in the priority swine flu vaccination programme, NHS flu resilience director Ian Dalton has said.

He told primary care trusts and strategic health authorities in England that the assessment of whether individual pharmacists have regular contact with patients, and are thus eligible for the swine flu vaccine, will be decided locally.

He said: “Those pharmacists and their clinical staff, or for that matter other professions, who have regular clinical contact with patients and who are directly involved in patient care, as part of their pharmacy practice, will be eligible for the vaccine.

“Similarly, pharmacists, their clinical staff and other health professionals falling outside that definition will not be eligible for vaccination.”