PSNC discussing pharmacy involvement in COVID vaccinations

PSNC discussing pharmacy involvement in COVID vaccinations

November 6, 2020

Latest update: Preparations for a potential COVID-19 vaccination programme

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) have entered urgent negotiations with PSNC about the role that the community pharmacy sector can play in delivering a COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Primary care is now being primed to start supporting a programme vaccinating against coronavirus from early December, although it is unlikely that a vaccine will be available until later.

Earlier this week NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens announced that GPs will receive information this week to help them prepare to administer COVID vaccinations before Christmas, providing one becomes available. Whilst the details have yet to be finalised, community pharmacy will also be offered the opportunity to provide these vaccinations and PSNC is pushing to have parity with the service commissioned in general practice.

Community pharmacy teams have had a central role in the response to the pandemic so far, and PSNC believes that this should continue as new treatments and vaccinations become available.

Further information on the specific details of this vaccination programme will be provided in due course. However, contractors should note that the logistics surrounding the programme are complex, with the rollout expected to be coordinated at a local level.

PSNC Director of NHS Services, Alastair Buxton, commented:

“PSNC is pleased that community pharmacy will have the opportunity to play a part in the national COVID-19 vaccination programme. This is a critical programme for the NHS and the nation, and it is right that pharmacies, with their outstanding track-record in vaccination provision, are involved in that.

The scale of this vaccination plan is unprecedented, and the practicalities of delivery will be complex, so it will undoubtedly require us to build on the collaborative approach that we already take with other services such as flu vaccinations. Due to the practical requirements for service provision at scale, not all pharmacies will be able to offer COVID vaccinations; this will be an opportunity that only some pharmacies and GP practices will choose to take up, with local coordination of sites.”

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