Regulation changes to allow more healthcare workers to administer vaccinations

Regulation changes to allow more healthcare workers to administer vaccinations

October 19, 2020

Changes to regulations that allow a wider group of healthcare professionals to be trained to administer vaccinations came into force on 16th October 2020.

The changes to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 mean that more healthcare professionals could be trained to provide flu and any potential COVID-19 vaccinations.

The changes also give the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) powers to grant temporary authorisation, pending the granting of a licence, for new vaccines and treatments needed to tackle public health threats (provided they meet the highest safety, quality and effectiveness standards).

This means that the MHRA may in the future authorise a vaccine needed to respond to a public health need, without the need to wait for European Medicines Agency approval.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) says the workforce expansion will include those who already have experience in handling vaccinations but may currently work outside of NHS settings, such as independent nurses, allied healthcare professionals, paramedics, physiotherapists, pharmacists and student nurses and doctors.

All new vaccinators will need to undergo a training programme to ensure patient safety, and where the right to vaccinate is extended to other community pharmacy team members such as pharmacy technicians, this is likely to require the supervision of the pharmacist.

Gordon Hockey, PSNC Director of Operations and Support, said:

“Community pharmacies have had a central role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic so far, and this should continue as new treatments and vaccinations become available. These regulation changes will help ensure that a range of healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, are able to administer any approved COVID-19 vaccination, although it is not yet clear what role primary care will play in vaccination roll-out.  As well as a role in offering any COVID-19 vaccination, PSNC is pressing for community pharmacies to have a central role in the distribution of any COVID-19 treatments to patients.”

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