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HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 29 April 2021

Media Summary

There was no media coverage today.

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Lords – Written Question, 21 January 2021

Lord Sciven (Liberal Democrat): To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that GP and hospital vaccination hubs are pausing vaccination programmes due to a lack of COVID-19 vaccination deliveries; and whether mass vaccination hubs in the same areas that GP and hospital hubs are pausing vaccinations, are experiencing similar delays.

House of Lords – Written Question, 28 April 2021

Lord Bethell (Conservative): Mass vaccination centres, general practitioners and hospital hubs are not pausing their vaccination programmes due to a lack of deliveries. NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England continue to work with sites across the United Kingdom to ensure an adequate and consistent supply of vaccines.

We met our 15 April target of offering the vaccine to all those in priority cohorts one to four, as identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccine and Immunisation.

UK secures extra 60 million Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines
Department of Health and Social Care, 28 April 2021

The Government’s Vaccines Taskforce has purchased an additional 60 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. This will help support the booster COVID-19 vaccination programme to protect the most vulnerable ahead of the winter and ensure that people have the strongest possible protection from COVID-19. The additional Pfizer/BioNTech jabs will be used alongside other approved COVID-19 vaccines for the booster programme.

This comes as new data from Public Health England shows that one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine reduces household transmission of the virus by up to half.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our vaccination programme is bringing back our freedom, but the biggest risk to that progress is the risk posed by a new variant.”

The Government is set to announce further details on the booster programme and the final policy will be informed by advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the results of clinical trials studying the use of different combinations of approved COVID-19 vaccines.

Ben Osborn, Country Manager at Pfizer UK, said: “By more than doubling our supply commitment to the UK, we are delighted to support the ongoing rollout of the UK immunisation programme and help the government in its efforts to address the pandemic.”

House of Lords – National Health Service (Charges and Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 National Health Service
Department of Health and Social Care, 26 April 2021
Motion to Regret tabled by Lord Hunt of Kings Health (Labour): That this House regrets that the National Health Service (Charges and Pharmaceutical and Local Pharmaceutical Services) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/169) do not address the underlying funding problems faced by the pharmaceutical sector, which may affect the capacity of local pharmaceutical services to respond to future emergencies.

In this debate Lord Bethell, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Health and Social Care (Conservative), credited community pharmacies for stepping up during the pandemic, including remaining open on bank holidays, implanting a medicines delivery service and most recently, the lateral flow distribution service Pharmacy Collect.

Lady Wheatcroft (Conservative) said that the 11,192 community pharmacies have played and continue to play a vital role in the response to the pandemic alongside the NHS.

Lord Bethell suggested that the Motion did not address the funding problems faced by community pharmacies. It is important that community pharmacies are financially stable and there are concerns that current funding is not enough. However, the healthcare system is under huge financial pressure and the Government does not have a limitless supply of funds, thus Bethell suggested that he could not make the commitments requested by Lord Hunt in his opening address. In response to Lady Wheatcroft, Lord Bethell said that community pharmacies have been paid for the increased items they dispensed. Community pharmacies have been reimbursed for PPE purchased previously and pharmacies have been provided with personal protective equipment free of charge; this provision has just been extended to March 2022.

Between April and July 2020, a total of £370 million in extra advance payments was made to support community pharmacies with cash-flow pressures due to COVID-19.

He concluded that the Government understands the value of community pharmacies and that “we are committed to working with the sector on a sustainable funding model for all community pharmacies. We are about to enter negotiations with the sector about what it can deliver this year.”

Lord Hunt thanked the House for a very good debate and the motion was withdrawn

 Full Coverage

There was no media coverage today.

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 29 April 2021

From Factory to Pharmacy

As part of our mission to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of the healthcare distribution sector, we developed an infographic explaining the availability of medicines. It identifies the factors that can impact drug supply, as well as the measures that HDA members undertake day in, day out to help mitigate the risks of patients not receiving their medicines.

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