GPs investigated for administering leftover Covid vaccine doses to patients outside eligible cohorts acted ‘in line with NHS guidance’, a review has found.
NHS Derby and Derbyshire CCG held an investigation last month into a Derbyshire GP-led vaccination site’s decision to vaccinate a local football player to avoid vaccine wastage in the last week of January.
The CCG review, which was conducted ‘on behalf of’ NHS England, accepted that a small number of patients not at the time eligible for the jab were vaccinated with ‘the principal aim’ being ‘the avoidance of vaccine waste’.
‘This was done in line with NHS guidance that permits vaccinations for patients outside of the announced cohort in exceptional circumstances,’ the CCG said.
The statement added: ‘The NHS has a duty to follow up reports of vaccinations being administered to people outside of the cohorts as specified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
‘The matter is now closed and we continue to be very grateful to staff at the local vaccination service for their significant efforts and success in delivering the vaccination programme to date.’
In a statement shared on its website last month, Stubley Medical Centre in Dronfield had said it stood by its decision to vaccinate patients outside the cohorts as a ‘last resort’ to avoid vaccine wastage.
U-turning wastage guidance has been a source of contention throughout the vaccination programme, with unclear guidance creating a catch-22 situation that has led some sites to throw vaccines away.
NHS England has updated its guidance on vaccine wastage throughout the programme, but has encouraged GPs to keep a reserve list of patients in eligible cohorts to come forward if vaccine risks being wasted.
Prior to this, it had said that GPs could offer Covid jabs outside the eligible priority cohorts if there was a ‘risk’ of vaccine wastage, with the review seeming to confirm that this advice still stands.
Pulse has asked NHS England for comment.