GP Covid vaccinations are set to be rolled out more widely to care homes in England from next week, NHS England has said.
In a webinar for GPs yesterday evening, GPs were told this follows trials in seven care homes during this week.
GPs were told that the local vaccination standard operating procedures are set to be updated today with a view to ramping up delivery to care homes from this week.
And practices delivering the vaccine as part of the first wave were due to receive an email last night around the consenting process for care homes so that it can begin tomorrow.
PCN sites will be able to ‘pack down’ a ‘proportion’ of the 975-vaccine delivery into a ‘validated cool box’ with cooling gel packs before transportation to the care home – where the vaccine will be diluted and drawn up for administration, according to slides presented to GPs.
‘Un-reconstituted’ vials have a shelf life of two hours at room temperature but once reconstituted, this is extended to ‘up to six hours’, they added.
Another webinar slide note said that seven PCN groupings had undertaken ‘a supervised run-through of the care home vaccination model using the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the w/c 14 December’ under ‘pharmacy scrutiny’ of the process.
GPs were also told that ‘over 245’ GP sites are now up and running, with ‘more to come in the next few days and weeks’. Initially, some 280 sites had been expected to start vaccinations this week.
It comes as more than 137,000 people in the UK have received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the first week of the vaccination programme, according to Government figures.
An earlier version of the NHS England standard operating procedures published last week said GP teams delivering Covid vaccinations should visit care homes a ‘minimum’ of four times.
It added that ‘regular’ follow up visits ‘may be required’ until mass population coverage has been achieved and that PCNs and roving vaccination teams should ‘consider’ Covid testing before visiting care homes.
The guidance also said that PCNs should encourage care homes to begin ‘informal conversations’ regarding consent, ready to seek informed consent four to five days before the vaccination team attended.
Earlier this month, it had said that the rollout of the Pfizer vaccine would not begin in care homes, despite residents and staff being the JCVI’s first priority group.It followed the Welsh Government announcing that they were not yet able to vaccinate in care homes, Scotland took a different approach and began vaccinations in care homes on Monday.