Important update –Community Pharmacy COVID-19 vaccination programme

Important update –Community Pharmacy COVID-19 vaccination programme

December 2, 2020

This update relates to Community Pharmacy’s participation in the COVID-19 vaccination delivery programme and application to become a designated site.

Several potential vaccines for COVID-19 are in the later stages of phase III trials. If one or more are authorised for use, the NHS needs to be ready to start immediate vaccination.

Community pharmacy will have an important role in a potential COVID-19 vaccination programme, alongside other providers.

NHS England and NHS Improvement regional teams will commission selected community pharmacy contractors who are able to meet the requirements to provide a COVID-19 vaccination service from pharmacy-led designated sites.

NHSE/I expect to commission fewer community pharmacy sites than GP PCN led centres. NHSE/I  do not expect the majority of contractors to be able to meet the requirements.  

A designation process has been established to provide assurance to the commissioner that all pharmacy-led sites administering COVID-19 vaccination meet the required criteria. The service would be commissioned as Local Enhanced Service.

As vaccine supply generally increases over time, we anticipate expanding the number of sites. Pharmacy contractors may subsequently be invited by the commissioner to nominate additional premises or new contractors may be commissioned. These new sites would also need to go through the designation process outlined in this document at a later date.


Actions for contractors:


Read the following guidance which  was published on the 27TH November 2020 by NHSE/I :

 Letter to pharmacy contractors

Information on the COVID-19 vaccination Enhanced service for community pharmacies

Information on the community pharmacy C-19 vaccination site designation process

Site designation form

Further information is available at: COVID-19 vaccinations : PSNC Main site


Please ensure you have read the criteria which is in Annex A of the information of the community pharmacy c-19 vaccination site designation process document before applying.

The requirements to be able to deliver the service are extensive and logistically complex.

Due to the likelihood of complex logistics in this new supply chain, there will be a limited number of sites commissioned to deliver high volumes of vaccines mostly at a separate site, for twelve-hour days, seven days a week.


Please submit completed pharmacy site designation forms to by 4pm on the 6th  December 2020.


The process will adhere to the following deadlines:

6 December 2020


Deadline for contractors to advise NHS England and NHS Improvement regional teams of nominated site for designation.

11 December 2020


Deadline for further supporting information requested by regional teams to be submitted by contractors (where the nominated site can be matched to an NHS England and NHS Improvement established need).

w/c 14 December 2020


NHS England and NHS Improvement consideration of assessment and decision on which sites will be designated.

18 December

NHS England and NHS Improvement decision communicated to pharmacies.

Additional opportunities

Community pharmacy contractors and workforce will be able to support the COVID-19 vaccination service in a number of other ways:

  • Individuals who are able to support local workforce arrangements can do so by joining the NHS COVID-19 vaccine team click here for more information. 
  • Community pharmacy contractors can collaborate with their local Primary Care Network to support them to deliver maximum vaccine uptake via the GP Enhanced Service or with vaccination centres. This may be, for example, to increase capacity or target certain populations such as care homes by entering into a sub-contracting agreement. PCN groupings would be responsible for meeting the costs of any additional paid workforce. As per PSNC guidance; contractors may be able to work with the general practices in their PCN (or a neighbouring one) to support the PCN vaccination site and any outreach into care homes etc. necessary from that site.
  • This could involve pharmacy contractors providing staff, under a private sub-contracting arrangement, to support the GP/PCN-led service. Click here for PSNC updates and the most up to date information – we recommend that you check this, and your NHS Mailbox regularly, and sign up to LPC newsletters’.

The LPC will be updating you with further news on any developments with regards to PCN network support and any other developments as we receive further information.

Priority groups for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination

The number of vaccines available at any one time will also have an impact on how they are used, in line with the prioritisation guidance issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The JCVI advice recommends that older adults resident in care homes, care home workers, all those 80 years of age and over and healthcare and social care workers are the early priority cohorts for vaccination. Read the guidance here


You can also read more detail and information on the PSNC Covid Vaccination page

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