NHS England has suggested that GP practices administering Covid vaccinations will not need access to freezer capacity to store vaccine stock.
However NHS England’s DES specification, published yesterday, only states that practices must have fridge capacity to store vaccine at +2-8C, suggesting they may not have to store the vaccine while it remains frozen.
The guidance said the designated site from which vaccines will be administered must have ‘fridge space to store (2-8c) or confirmed plans to have fridge capacity in place no later than 1 December’.
It must also have ‘capacity to administer minimum of 975 doses per week (or greater in accordance with minimum ordering requirements for specific vaccines and ensuring all doses are administered within appropriate shelf life)’, it added.
In addition, practices must demonstrate their ‘ability to fully comply with all storage and handling requirements, including maximum allowable time at 2-8C before administration and time between dilution and administration’, the DES specification said.
Last week, Pulse was told that the vaccine may come in vials of around 1,000 doses which may have to be administered within five days of being defrosted.
But NHS England medical director for primary care Dr Nikki Kanani confirmed over Twitter that stock will come as ‘975 vaccines per batch not per vial’.
Despite this, the DES specification confirmed that the vaccine will come to GP practices in ‘multidose vials’.
Practices must have the necessary space and trained workforce to prepare the vaccine, including ‘dilution where required, using standard aseptic technique, and drawing up of multidose vials in all cases’, it said.
It remains unclear where frozen vaccines will be stored prior to being delivered to GP practices.
NHS England said further information about vaccine preparation will be outlined ‘once the final vaccine characteristics have been confirmed’.
The Pfizer vaccine is one of the candidates for delivery by GPs under the DES revealed yesterday evening.
Pfizer yesterday reported that its vaccine is 90% effective and the Government announced that the UK will be ‘ready’ to deliver these to ‘one third’ of the population, if it gains approval from the MHRA.
Pulse first revealed details of the programme in a world exclusive last week, including that GPs will be paid £12.85 per Covid vaccination jab administered.
Pulse has also published a Q&A covering everything we know so far about the Covid vaccine DES, which will be updated as further details become clear.