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GP networks forced to pull out of delivering Pfizer vaccine due to new guidance


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Exclusive At least one GP network has had to pull out of delivering the Covid vaccine next week because of new safety guidance, with PCNs around the country forced to urgently reconsider their plans.

This comes in light of new MHRA guidance stating that patients need to be kept for observation for 15 minutes following their vaccination with the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine to rule out anaphylaxis.

Around 280 PCNs were due to join the vaccination programme next week (15 December), after around 50 hospital hubs began vaccinating over-80s and at-risk hospital staff this week.

GPs within the North East Derbyshire PCN has been due to begin vaccinations from Thursday next week, however they have now had to stand down from administering the Pfizer vaccine due to the new guidance.

PCN clinical director Dr Steve Rossi told Pulse: ‘We have had to pull back, primarily but not solely due to the reintroduction of the 15-minute observation period, which makes our site unusable.

‘We are therefore standing down until there’s further guidance or if the AstraZeneca one comes in and doesn’t have that 15-minute observation – which we sincerely hope it doesn’t – then we’re confident that we can then get involved.’

He added: ‘The long and short of it was that even though there are lots of other questions with regards to how the whole thing’s going to work with call and recall, and booking, and the input from the CCG, the thing that really has been the nail in the coffin, certainly in the short term, is this 15-minute observation.’

Describing the decision as ‘disappointing’, with ‘all the work put in’, Dr Rossi stressed that the PCN wants to provide the vaccination ‘as locally as possible’ for its patients, but has to do this ‘safely and follow the guidance’.

He added: ‘We’ll be ready to stand up as soon as it is feasible.’

Nine PCNs in Kent which are due to start vaccinating patients from next Monday are also having to ‘rethink their plans’ due to the new guidance, Pulse has learned.

Kent LMC medical director Dr John Allingham said the MHRA’s new stipulations means that GPs will ‘have to slow down their clinics dramatically’, which is anticipated to be a ‘major problem’.

He told Pulse: ‘What I know already is that there are a number of practices who are having to completely rethink their plans.’

He said this comes as only some of the bigger venues can fit more than ten people into the waiting rooms.

He also pointed out that the new requirement will increase the number of staff required at vaccination sites.

Dr Allingham added: ‘Quite a few are practices and PCNs are probably going to make a loss on this’.

Kent GP Dr Yvette Rean, whose PCN had been due to start vaccinations next week, said on Twitter that her site now ‘can’t do it’.

However, she told Pulse that they were still in discussions with the CCG about how it could be made feasible.

The MHRA’s new guidance, which was published in full last night, followed news that two NHS staff suffered allergic reactions upon receiving the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday – the first day of vaccinations in England.

READERS' COMMENTS [11]

Ks Pandher 10 December, 2020 5:21 pm

The 15 minutes observation had been routine when any vaccine or imms is given for the 1st time.
So I am slightly puzzled by the PCN stance

Durgesh Rajsingh 10 December, 2020 5:26 pm

Perhaps because they intend to enforce it strictly making it very inefficient?

Bryan Anglim 10 December, 2020 5:53 pm

@Ks
Until a week ago this vaccine did not have a 15 minute wait.

And comparing it to other vaccinations is ridiculous because:
– Most vaccinations are not given en masse
– Flu vaccinations are generally not given to loads of people having it for the first time together (most have had it before)
– Most vaccinations are not given through a pandemic meaning that there needs to be a 2m perimeter around those who are waiting.
– Most vaccinations do not have to be given 975 at a time – or at least 975 within 3 days.

To think it is the same as every other vaccine is clearly incorrect.

Toni Hazell 10 December, 2020 6:01 pm

@ks that’s just not true. Green book clearly says an observation period not necessary post vaccination.

Paul Frisby 10 December, 2020 7:02 pm

I know that PCNs are being offered £12.58 per jab as its been widely published
Can anyone tell me how much hospitals are being paid, and how much community trusts are being paid per jab? Or is that financially sensitive?

Subhash Chandra Bhatt 10 December, 2020 9:36 pm

15 minute to wait after vaccine was non starter in the beginning and then they said no need to wait for 15 minutes. Now 2 cases of allergy are recorded and if safety measure are not announced then whole programme will be derailed. That was to worry for them..
If this rule apply to COVID then all immunisation have same risk and gp should be present for all immunisation.
I think common sense should prevail and vaccination should go ahead as planned before.
GPs can’t be present for all immunisation .

Nicholas Browne 11 December, 2020 11:41 am

I was under the impression that the 15min post vaccine wait was an integral part of this program. We’ve built our program around this. It’s annoying, but in light of this, perhaps important safeguard for such a novel vaccine

Patrufini Duffy 11 December, 2020 3:46 pm

Do what you can, but don’t snap yourselves over it. You’ll have to do the same next year too.

Simon Davis 11 December, 2020 3:48 pm

Could people sign a disclaimer and leave before the 15 minutes?
How is this going to be policed?
What if you collapse 16 minutes post vaccination whilst driving your car?
I think these are life events and one has to weigh the benefits and risks of actions and inactions.

K Bear 12 December, 2020 4:49 pm

@Nicholas Browne, i agree.
why as a profession, who is here to help and keep people/population safe, are we debating the the advise given. The doctors are not required to be present to supervise these patients.They will sit and be supervised at safe distance from each other in a room by one nurse or HCP. We all are trained in CPR….so I really don’t see an issue here esp when we are paid !!!

terry sullivan 16 December, 2020 8:19 pm

run away–you are being dumped on