GP-led vaccination sites should send roving teams to care homes to increase Covid jab uptake among social care staff, NHS England has said.
PCNs should also complete any outstanding first doses for care home residents, it added in a letter to vaccination sites and commissioners.
And the £10 supplementary payment for care home vaccinations has now been extended from the end of January to jabs delivered from ‘February onwards’, including second doses.
The letter, sent yesterday, reiterated that ‘almost all’ care homes for older adults had been offered a first dose visit by roving PCN vaccination teams by the 31 January deadline.
However, it added that the roving teams may be required to visit care homes again to ‘ensure social care staff vaccination rates increase further’.
It said: ‘To support and enable vaccination, we are asking local systems to develop plans to increase social care staff uptake rates, and where a need to do so is identified, PCN-led roving vaccination teams may need to undertake second visits to older adult care homes to complete the first dose vaccination of staff.’
Decisions on whether a second visit is needed should follow a ‘pragmatic approach’ based on ‘individual care home circumstances’ and discussion between PCN teams and care home managers, NHS England added.
It said: ‘For example, where there are both residents and staff members who have yet to be vaccinated, then a second visit would be needed.
‘However, if there are only one or two staff members remaining to vaccinate, then a second visit from the roving team may not be appropriate. For these staff, access via their PCN or hospital hub should be encouraged, and eligible frontline care workers can also use the National Booking Service to book an appointment at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy.’
PCN roving teams should focus on completing care home first doses ‘up until and during the week commencing 8 March’, ahead of second dose visits beginning from March onwards, NHS England added.
Meanwhile, the letter added that the supplementary payment for vaccinations delivered in care homes – in addition to the item of service fee – has been extended beyond the end of January.
It said: ‘This means that any first doses administered in February onwards will also attract the supplement, as will corresponding second doses.’
However, this will go back down from £30 to the £10 originally announced, NHS England said.
PCNs should continue to record the setting in which vaccinations are delivered on the Pinnacle system in order to receive the payment, it added.
And ICSs and STPs should complete an NHS England survey confirming whether PCNs have already made or plan to make second visits to care homes to complete first dose delivery, the letter said.
It comes as NHS England also announced today that Covid vaccination sites should plan to administer roughly twice the number of jabs from 15 March, when supply will ‘increase substantially’ for ‘several weeks’.