News

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 16 July 2021

Media Summary

Pharmacies able to do 100 jabs a week can now join COVID booster phase
Chemist and Druggist, Valeria Fiore, 14 July 2021

The Chemist and Druggist reports that all community pharmacies in England, including those with a “low-capacity site”, have been invited to express an interest in delivering the COVID-19 booster vaccination programme. Initially, only sites that could deliver 1,000 doses a week and later those who were able to do a minimum of 400 a week were invited to join.

This follows the success of pharmacies participating in Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the programme. Pharmacies who already delivered the first two phases will have to resubmit their interest for the third phase, following the same instructions as the new sites.

Pharmacies will be paid £12.58 for each COVID-19 vaccination they administer. Some pharmacies will be able to claim an extra £10 payment if they give the vaccine to care home staff, residents, or if the patient receives it in that setting.

The Chemist and Druggist highlights that NHSE&I is waiting for official advice from the the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on whether the booster COVID-19 vaccination should differ from the first and second doses.

As of 6th July 2021, there are approximately 700 pharmacy-led sites that are participating in the COVID-19 vaccination programme. NHSE&I said pharmacies have until 5pm on 28th July 2021 to show their interest in joining Phase 3.

 

 Parliamentary Coverage

Letter to Community Pharmacy
14 July 2021, Community Pharmacy Local Enhanced Service Specification – Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccination

A letter has been published by Dr Nikki Kanani, Medical Director for Primary Care, and Caroline Temmink, Director of Primary Care Vaccination, announcing the publication of the Local Enhanced Service Specification for Phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme and guidance on the Community Pharmacy Phase 3 Expression of Interest and Site Designation process.

The letter discusses the implementation of interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on the potential COVID-19 booster programme. Vaccines will be offered in two stages from September, starting with those most at risk. The flu vaccine should be offered alongside the third, booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The NHS will continue to deliver first and second COVID-19 vaccinations over the summer to all eligible patients.

The letter highlights community pharmacy’s vital role in the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Approaching Phase 3, community pharmacy sites must be able to receive, store, prepare and transport the vaccines which are currently approved, as well as any new vaccines which may be approved.

Pharmacy contractors will be able to opt in to being commissioned to deliver COVID-19 vaccines from a low-capacity site. Pharmacy contractors are permitted to express an interest in administering 100/350/1000 vaccinations per week as agreed with the Commissioner (NHS England) and subject to vaccine supply.

The letter states that there will be a nationally agreed initial Supply Inventory List (SIL) of the equipment that will be required to allow new community pharmacy-led vaccination sites to operate.

In Phase 3, linked vaccine consumables such as syringes will be centrally supplied, but providers will need to purchase non vaccine linked consumables including handwash, waste bags and sharps bins as they would usually do for other vaccination programmes.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is expected to continue to be available for community pharmacy through the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) portal.

The letter reveals that the vaccine ordering model may change to a capped pull vaccine ordering model in Phase 3 to support sites to have greater visibility and influence over the supply of COVID-19 vaccine to designated sites and to support earlier scheduling of clinics. This would allow sites to have the flexibility to request their own vaccines, up to a maximum limit. Sites could also align the COVID-19 vaccine with their flu vaccine supply to support co-administration, where timing of cohort phasing and eligibility of the programmes align.

The Commissioner, NHS England, will distribute available vaccine supply to providers that can contribute to meeting public demand.

Further details will be published on Phase 3 arrangements and on the adult seasonal flu programme, but pharmacy contractors are advised to continue to plan as usual for this year’s flu season.

 

Full Coverage

Pharmacies able to do 100 jabs a week can now join COVID booster phase
Chemist and Druggist, Valeria Fiore, 14 July 2021

All community pharmacies in England, including those with a “low capacity site”, have been invited to express an interest in delivering the COVID-19 booster vaccination programme.

Following a “successful pilot”, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) has decided to allow all pharmacy contractors to apply to join the COVID-19 booster programme in the autumn, it said in a letter to pharmacies this afternoon (July 14).

“Pharmacy contractors can express an interest in administering 100/350/1,000 vaccinations per week, as agreed with the commissioner (NHSE&I) and subject to vaccine supply,” NHSE&I medical director for primary care Nikita Kanani and NHSE&I director of primary care vaccination Caroline Temmink wrote in the letter.

Pharmacies have until 5pm on July 28 to express an interest to join phase 3 – the booster vaccinations – of the national service, NHSE&I said.

Those that are already delivering phase 1 and phase 2 of the programme will have to resubmit their interest in phase 3, following the same instructions as the new sites – which NHSE&I attached to its letter to contractors.

Payment and remuneration for additional costs
Pharmacies will be paid £12.58 for each COVID-19 vaccination they administer.

This is the same payment that pharmacy-led sites were receiving in phase 1 and phase 2 of the programme. Initially, only those sites that could deliver 1,000 doses a week and later those who were able to do a minimum of 400 a week were invited to join.

On top of the fee per vaccination administered, pharmacies will be able to claim a £10 payment if they give the vaccine to care home staff, residents, or if the patient receives it in that setting.

Pharmacists will also be able to claim the additional £10 for each housebound patient they administer the vaccine to.

“Further additional reasonable costs funding will be available to medium and large pharmacy sites delivering COVID-19 vaccinations in phase 3,” Dr Kanani and Ms Temmink wrote.

However, “additional reasonable costs will only be approved for small community pharmacy sites by exception”, they specified.

Flu jabs… and other services?
The letter confirmed NHSE&I’s intention “to put in place arrangements to enable co-administration of flu and COVID-19 vaccines”, following the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) interim advice.

However, NHSE&I awaits the final advice from the JCVI on whether the booster COVID-19 vaccination should be the same or different dose from the first and second doses.

“Community pharmacy sites must therefore be able to receive, store, prepare and transport (where appropriate) the vaccines which are currently approved, as well as any new vaccines which may be approved in future,” Dr Kanani and Ms Temmink added.

Last month, NHSE&I announced it was also hoping that, from this autumn, people dropping into an NHS clinic or pharmacy to receive their flu vaccination or booster dose of COVID-19 jab will also be offered targeted tests, such as blood pressure, heart rhythm, and cholesterol checks.

Community pharmacy “vital” in vaccination programme

Dr Kanani and Ms Temmink acknowledged in the letter that “community pharmacy has been a vital part of this historic programme”, and extended their thanks to “all community pharmacies who have been involved in the delivery of over 67 million COVID-19 vaccinations”.

As of July 6, there are almost 700 pharmacy-led sites that are involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Earlier this month, NHSE&I revealed its intentions to commission a further 1,000 pharmacy-led COVID-19 vaccination sites in the run-up to September to help deliver booster jabs.

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin –  16 July 2021

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