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COVID-19 Vaccination Programme Update

(written by: Dr Kieran Sharrock)

There has been widespread coverage of the results of the trials of three of the Covid-19 vaccines which is really positive.
We are expecting the Pfizer BioNTech and the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines to be licensed in the near future but these vaccines will not become widely available until 2021.

The plans to deliver the vaccine programme will be determined by the characteristics of the vaccine and its mobility. The current planning assumptions are that it is likely that the first vaccine to be available (Pfizer/ Courageous) has limited mobility which is unlikely to lend itself to roving or local vaccination sites.

The expectation is that the Pfizer vaccine will initially be used to vaccinate Acute Trust staff and would then be made available in the Mass Vaccination Sites to immunise the Health and Social Care staff.

We anticipate that primary care and roving delivery models will mobilise once a more mobile vaccine (the Oxford AstraZeneca one) becomes available which we hope will follow shortly after the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. We will then be able to start the vaccination of the Care Homes and their staff, the people aged 80 and over and Community Teams working with general practice can focus on the Housebound.

This is a positive development for general practices as the AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored in our vaccine fridges for up to 6 months, is mobile, and comes in packs of 80-100 doses. We will still need to focus our efforts on one site per PCN population initially because of the logistics of delivering the vaccines and technology.

The NHS has been asked to be ready to start vaccinating as soon as the vaccines are licensed and become available. We should be given 10 days notice of this.

The NHS Enhanced Service contract will be sent to practices this week and you will have 7 days to sign up to the enhanced service.
The additional consumables needed will be supplied – please ensure you have enough PPE for the vaccination sites.
We would expect a significant number of documents to become available shortly which should include:

  • The consent
  • Pre and post vaccination information
  • PGDs for each vaccine
  • Draft temporary staff contracts
  • MOUs for sharing staff
  • Details of the local workforce contacts

We will keep you informed of development but as I am sure you are aware this is a fast moving and ever changing topic.