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Exclusive: Covid vaccine DES set to be announced imminently for December start

Exclusive: Covid vaccine DES set to be announced imminently for December start

Exclusive A new DES is set to be announced imminently for practices and PCNs to start administering a Covid vaccine from the beginning of December, Pulse understands.

Practices and PCNs will be asked to prepare to give the vaccine to over-85s and front line workers from the start of December, numerous sources have confirmed to Pulse.

There are currently two vaccines that are being prepared, with one requiring two shots and needing to be kept at minus 70 degrees.

Alongside GPs and PCNs, there will be teams delivering it to care homes, and at-scale delivery centres.

Pulse understands there will be sufficient resources allocated to practices via the DES.

A number of sources have confirmed to Pulse that an announcement around the DES is imminent, potentially by next week.

It is expected that the vaccines will be delivered in a number of ways, with teams going to care homes and delivery centres, such as those reported by the Economist and the Sun.

Pulse reported last month that the NHS was looking to start the rollout of the vaccine from December, with sources close to the issue putting the chances at ’50/50′.

It has now been confirmed to Pulse by numerous sources that GPs and the whole of the NHS are going to be put on standby to start vaccinating over-85s and frontline workers from early December.

It remains unclear exactly which vaccines will be administered, but Pfizer’s vaccine in development has to be kept at minus 70 degrees, while the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine was shown to be more effective when administered in two doses.

There is also no indication as to the efficacy of any vaccine, and the chief scientific officer Sir Patrick Vallance has been keen to play down the chances of an effective vaccine.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘While there are no certainties in the development, production, and timing of new vaccines, there is a possibility a Covid-19 vaccine could be available in the UK in the first part of 2021.

‘It will only be rolled out once proven to be safe and effective through robust clinical trials and approved by medicines regulator the MHRA.

‘Once approved, the NHS stands ready to begin the vaccination programme to those most at risk, before being rolled out more widely.’



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Anonymous GP 3 November, 2020 2:21 pm


We are still waiting for our Flu Vaccine Batches?

Reply moderated
Moira Langdale-Brown 3 November, 2020 2:44 pm

Minus 70?? Better get the new fridges / freezers ordered if that’s right!

Reply moderated
Andrew Martin 3 November, 2020 5:21 pm

It’s right but I don’t think you’ll be popping down to Currys for them!

Reply moderated
Andrew Jackson 3 November, 2020 5:38 pm

why is this a PCN DES?
The whole thing will be huge and much simpler if we can use our current vaccination systems without having to spend more time in PCN meetings doing this together?
Not the time to be trying new ways of doing things but part of the PCN agenda to starve practices of direct funding

Reply moderated
Bob Hodges 3 November, 2020 7:20 pm

Yes indeed – minus 70c! It has to be stored at that, but it obviously can’t be given until its warmed up…or their arm will drop off.

The solution to the problem would be daily vaccine deliveries to sites from the local storage facility.

Reply moderated
Vinci Ho 3 November, 2020 7:31 pm

Is this another too good to be true promise from the government and once again , exploiting GPs as the scapegoats in case of failed delivery ?
Have you come across patients aged between 50-64 complaining of not being vaccinated for flu as we are already in November?

Reply moderated
David Stokoe 3 November, 2020 9:02 pm

Is there not an ethical problem with prioritising over 85 year olds whose ability to benefit is by definition significantly limited at the expense of the 60/65/70 yr old cohort who might benefit?

The concept of triage is nearly 250yrs old. Perhaps someone needs to remind Hancock/Whitty et al.

Reply moderated
Vinci Ho 3 November, 2020 10:23 pm

Is this another too good to be true promise by the government, exploiting GPs as scapegoats should it fail to deliver again .
Has anyone come across patients aged 50-64 complaining of not being given flu vaccination as we are already in November?

Reply moderated
Patrufini Duffy 3 November, 2020 10:24 pm

We’ll wait and see. You know what’s going to happen in the unique British world of civic duty. The youngsters will see elderly vaccinated, and say “well, they’ll be fine – stuff this”…so ignore any masks, distancing and back to blind drug gatherings. And the cycle repeats itself.

Reply moderated
David Jenner 4 November, 2020 7:42 am

How do we store it at minus 70 degrees?
Is this a misprint ? or does this refer to central storage?
This is three times colder than “maximum” on a domestic freezer
Intriguing but with respect to Pulse we need to be cautious about reading half the story!

Reply moderated
Bob Hodges 4 November, 2020 8:46 am

It will need to be stored at -70c and delivered on the day to vaccination sites I suspect. It will have to warm up before being drawn up into syringes.

On the assumption that we are provided with a safe effective vaccine, our job is to get it into people! The best vaccine is worl;d is useless unless its given to people. This is our way back to normal possibly. I’m all over this already from a planning perspective and have been for a month (that’s why we had the the flu campaign smashed by the end of September).

Anyway…….BRING IT ON. We got this!

Reply moderated
Anonymous GP 4 November, 2020 10:03 am


Would you still be as keen on the C19 Vaccine if it’s only 10% successful after the first jab?

Reply moderated
Bob Hodges 4 November, 2020 6:24 pm

No of course not – that’s not the point. The efficacy of it is not my concern right now, its how to get it administered to thousands of people if we get the green light.

There’s not enough data in the public domain to infer efficacy, safety or otherwise right now.

Reply moderated
terry sullivan 5 November, 2020 11:29 am

safe? so remove exemption from legal action?

Reply moderated
terry sullivan 6 November, 2020 5:48 pm

no guarantee on efficacy or safety–avoid

Reply moderated
John Oldring 9 November, 2020 8:14 pm

Having been a member of a clinical trials ethics committee and sat on various drug company advisory boards for clinical trials and been the second GP in the country to pass an MCA audit,I feel I have a reasonable understanding of clinical trials .There is tremendous pressure financial and political ,to discover a vaccine for covid 19.In my experience clinical trial pts in early phases tend to be young fit people .who handle side effects relatively well .-they may also be paid .whether this makes a difference to trial outcomes I dont know .I do know that the group of people in line to be vaccinated first will be over 80 with also the accompanying medical problems and medication -I accept they are the most at risk from covid 19 .I would be interested to know what percentage of trial patients fitted into with group