COVID-19: This week’s updates for community pharmacies (1)

COVID-19: This week’s updates for community pharmacies (1)

June 14, 2021

Latest news, information and guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) for primary care teams.

1. NHSE&I Primary Care Special update – COVID-19 vaccination programme in primary care: 8th June

During the last year there has been a remarkable reduction in respiratory viral infections other than COVID-19. This means that there is an increasing number of young children who have never been exposed to these common viruses. Around the world we have seen evidence of unseasonal outbreaks of these infections as measures such as social distancing and mask wearing are relaxed. As outlined in the GP Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), COVID-19 tends to be a mild, self-limiting illness in children. Prolonged illness and/or severe symptoms should not be attributed to COVID-19 and should be evaluated as usual. We are asking that all children under five with respiratory symptoms are considered for face-to-face consultations and referred to secondary care as appropriate. Whilst children with respiratory symptoms should follow government guidance, including on COVID-19 testing, this should not take precedence over clinical assessment. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health produced a summary of key current evidence regarding COVID-19 in children and young people and guidance on paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19.

New resources for the GP referral pathway to the NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service
A new briefing note and case study has been produced in conjunction with the Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and Primary Care Pharmacy Association, which outlines how GP practices and PCNs can start referring into the service as soon as the secure electronic referral process has been agreed with local community pharmacies.

The pathway was introduced as a new route to refer patients to CPCS, in addition to referrals from NHS 111 and should be a fundamental part of restoring and increasing access to primary care services following wave two of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An implementation toolkit supports practice staff and PCNs to implement the service with NHS England and NHS Improvement regional teams.

Supporting staff to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme
The NHS has always benefited from committed, and talented health staff both trained here in Britain and those who have chosen to work here from abroad. EU, EEA and Swiss citizens form an integral and vital part of the health and care family, and your skills and compassionate care directly benefit patients, families and communities.

There are less than 30 days left to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, which is open to all EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK until 30 June 2021. The Settlement Scheme will allow EU, EEA and Swiss citizens to continue to live and work in the UK beyond June 2021, meaning they will not need to apply for visas when the new immigration system takes effect. The scheme will also lock in the rights of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, meaning they will be able to access healthcare, benefits and other government services in the same way they currently do, further details on what people will get from the scheme are available on the government website.

Inviting 25 to 29 year olds to book their COVID-19 vaccine
From today (Tuesday 8 June), 25 to 29 year olds will be invited to book their COVID-19 vaccination through the National Booking Service (on the NHS website or by calling 119). Text messages will be sent to this group inviting them over the course of this week, starting today, and letters will be sent to them arriving from Saturday.

In addition to inviting 25 to 29 year olds in cohort 12, vaccination sites should continue to work through vaccination of cohort 11. This is alongside continued action to increase uptake across all eligible cohorts and to ensure there is sufficient capacity to bring forward second doses for those in cohorts 1-9 in line with JCVI guidance.

CPs and PCN led sites should continue to work with their local commissioners to establish temporary vaccination clinics where this will help increase uptake. Further details can be found here.

Standard Operating Procedure: Roving and mobile models published
This standard operating procedure (SOP) describes how to operate roving and mobile vaccination models. These models enable the administration of COVID-19 vaccines at identified locations outside of vaccination ‘base’ sites – vaccination centres, hospital hubs, PCN-led sites and community pharmacies.

Flu and Covid 19 vaccination trials update
There are a number of clinical trials ongoing looking into whether the COVID-19 and flu vaccines can be given at the same time (co-administration) and looking into various issues around giving a third ‘booster’ dose. The results of these trials will inform the design of the COVID-19 vaccination programme from the autumn (Phase 3). The clinical trials in progress are:

  • COMFLUCOV – a collaboration between the University of Bristol, University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, and the University of Oxford, run by the Bristol Trials Centre.  Trial is looking at the safety of concomitant administration of Covid and flu vaccines. Results are expected June 2021.
  • COMCOV – led by the Oxford Vaccine Group at the University of Oxford, this trial looks at how people respond to mixed schedules. Results are expected June to September 2021.
  • COVBOOST – led by the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, this trial is looking at how people respond to a third dose, which vaccine is best use for boosting after which primary course and at what dosage (full or half dose for example). Results are expected in September 2021.

Free PPE for unpaid carers
It is important that Infection, Prevention, Control measures continue to be followed. Currently, it is recommended that unpaid carers not living with the person they care for wear PPE when delivering care. These unpaid carers are eligible to receive free COVID-19 PPE through local authorities (LAs) and local resilience forums (LRFs) until the end of March 2022. Additionally, LAs/ LRFs may use discretion to provide PPE to co-resident unpaid carers if appropriate.

If you are aware of unpaid carers who would benefit from this offer, please let them know that they can contact their LA/ LRF using these contact details.


2. NHSE&I Primary Care Bulletin updates – COVID-19: 10th June round-up for primary care

We recognise that many primary care staff have faced a long and challenging year, and that additional capacity is key to support providers to deliver the COVID-19 vaccinations alongside core primary care services and recovery. We are therefore providing an additional £20 million to support PCN and community pharmacy-led local vaccination sites to draw down additional staff through their lead employer to help deliver the COVID-19 vaccination programme between 16 June and 14 July 2021. Please read our letter distributed and published today for more detail on how you can access this support through your ICS/STPs.

COVID-19 vaccination status
COVID-19 vaccination status is available for people living in England, for international travel, via the NHS App or by calling 119 to request a letter copy. In addition, it is now possible to request a copy of the letter via the NHS website. People should note that it may take up to five working days to arrive by post. People should wait five working days AFTER they have had their second dose for the system to be updated. More information is available on the NHS Digital primary care page.


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