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Are we covered to use imported MMR vaccine?

Does our patient group directive cover the use of the American and German vaccines brought in to make up for the shortfall in the supply of licensed MMR vaccines?

Our local communicable disease centre has recently drawn our attention to this potential problem. These imported vaccines are not licensed here and therefore it is very unlikely that your nurses would be covered for administering them under your existing patient group directive (PGD). They should only be administering them under prescription.

We have been assured that the vaccines are entirely safe and that it is perfectly permissible for the GP to prescribe immunisation for a number of named patients and to delegate the administration to the practice nurse.

Draw up a list of the patients due to receive the vaccine. The list must include patient identifiers such as name, date of birth; plus product and dose. The doctor should sign on the day of the clinic to authorise the administration.

As a safeguard, the nurse should first explain to each patient there is a shortage of MMR vaccine and that the imported product, although unlicensed in the UK, is considered to be safe to use.

If the patient, or consenting adult in the case of a child, agrees to vaccination this may then be taken as explicit consent and should be recorded in the medical record.

Dr Christine Dewbury, Wessex LMCs

Neither Pulse nor Wessex LMCs can accept any legal liability in respect of the answers given.

Readers should seek independent advice before acting on the information concerned.

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