Regs explainer (#8): Flexible provision of flu or coronavirus vaccinations


Regs explainer (#8): Flexible provision of flu or coronavirus vaccinations

November 5, 2020

On 20th October 2020 new NHS regulations were laid to introduce changes to the Terms of Service for pharmacy contractors. Some of these changes relate to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but most are changes which were previously agreed as part of the 5-year Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework (CPCF) and were originally planned to be introduced in July 2020.

This article is one of a series, explaining what the changes mean for pharmacy contractors and their teams.

This change applies from:

9th November 2020

What are the new requirements?

During a pandemic or in anticipation of a pandemic, a pharmacy contractor may apply to NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) to provide from its pharmacy premises, a relevant immunisation service for a specified period within its core or supplementary hours and no other NHS pharmacy services.

A relevant immunisation service means an Enhanced or Advanced service for the administration of:

  1. influenza vaccinations in accordance with a Patient Group Direction (PGD) applicable to community pharmacy; or
  2. influenza or coronavirus vaccinations in accordance with a protocol that meets the requirements of section 247A of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (HMR).

If NHSE&I makes an appropriate announcement setting out an acceptable specified period, contractors do not need to apply and may provide the relevant immunisation service within the limits of the NHSE&I announcement.

This new regulatory provision was sought by PSNC to enable pharmacies to provide only a relevant immunisation service and no other NHS pharmacy services at times when there is a need for a concerted focus on vaccinating significant numbers of people, as now, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pharmacies may continue to provide private pharmacy services.

PSNC has asked for contractors to be able to request additional supplementary hours in the application process and for additional supplementary hours to be considered in any NHSE&I announcement.

Where only a relevant immunisation service is provided, the pharmacy’s NHS website and Directory of Services profiles should be amended to show that the pharmacy is closed, to ensure that patient referrals, for example to the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service, are not made during this time. It is also suggested that a notice for patients and the public is displayed so it is visible from outside the pharmacy and indicates when the pharmacy is providing only a vaccination service.

Section 247A of the HMR provides for influenza and coronavirus vaccination protocols. Such protocols may specify, for example, (additional) classes of persons permitted to administer the vaccine under the protocol and the vaccine may be authorised on a temporary basis (i.e. not yet fully authorised) by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

With effect from 9th November 2020, an influenza vaccination is free of charge for persons identified in the NHSE&I influenza vaccine PGD (at risk groups), and an influenza or coronavirus vaccination is free of charge if administered in accordance with a relevant national protocol.

Where can I get more support on this?

Further guidance will be provided by or through NHSE&I on this new requirement and the application process and forms.


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