GP-led vaccination sites must start recording Covid vaccine wastage and stock levels on a weekly basis, NHS England has said.
It comes as NHS England has set out the next steps for vaccine deployment, including that sites should plan to administer roughly twice the current number of jabs from 15 March, when supply will ‘increase substantially’ for ‘several weeks’.
In a letter sent yesterday, it said that PCNs must book patients into vaccine clinics ahead of 15 March and ensure they have reserve lists of eligible patients who can attend at short notice ‘to ensure no vaccine wastage’.
PCNs should plan to use all stock delivered by 11 March by close on Sunday 14 March, with an aim to end the week in a ‘near-zero stock position’, and all stock received in the week of 15 March must be used by close on 21 March, it said.
The letter added: ‘We have introduced a new web form through which all sites should record their stock position on a weekly basis and record any wastage.’
However, it remains unclear why vaccine wastage is being monitored and whether any action or investigation will take place if a site exceeds a certain amount of wastage.
The letter also set out NHS England’s latest position on wastage, saying that PCNs should focus on ‘maximum cohort penetration’ and invite patients outside eligible cohorts ‘only in very limited circumstances to avoid wastage’.
U-turning wastage guidance has been a source of contention throughout the vaccination programme, with unclear guidance creating a catch-22 situation that led some sites to throw vaccines away.
Current eligible cohorts include the JCVI’s priority groups one to seven – with the rollout expanded to the over 60s this week.