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Hospitals to vaccinate over-80s and care home staff in first ‘phase’ of Covid vaccine rollout


Sir Simon Stevens


Around 50 hospital hubs will begin administering Covid vaccinations to care home staff and the over-80s next week as part of a ‘phased’ rollout, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has said.

He further confirmed that at this stage care homes will not be receiving any doses, despite their residents featuring highest on the JCVI prioritisation list.

He also confirmed that GPs will start vaccinating patients as part of the second phase of the rollout.

Speaking in yesterday evening’s coronavirus briefing, Mr Stevens expressed optimism over the approval of the Pfizer Covid vaccine but warned caution as deployment would need to happen in a ‘phased’ manner.

Setting out the details, he said: ‘The phasing of delivery, the way we will do it, is that next week around 50 hospital hubs across England will start offering the vaccine to the over-80s and to care home staff and others identified by the JCVI.

‘That will then be followed, in the subsequent weeks, with GP practices coming together in each area to operate local vaccination centres.’

Mr Stevens said this will then ‘grow to over a thousand places right across England where GPs will be in touch with their at-risk patients, inviting people to come forward for vaccination’.

‘We’ve had an excellent response from GPs across the NHS wanting to participate in this programme, and as the extra vaccine becomes available, we will be able to turn on more of those GP-led clinics,’ he added.

However, in order for care homes to be able to receive the vaccine, MHRA will need to update its recommendations for handling the vaccine, which comes in batches of 975 doses that need to be moved and stored at -70C.

Mr Stevens said: ‘And then if the MHRA, the independent regulator, as we expect they will, give approval for a safe way of splitting these packs of 975 doses, then the good news is that we will be able to start distributing those to care homes.’

‘Finally’, Mr Stevens added, NHS England ‘will be able to switch on large vaccination centres across the country, and indeed invite local community pharmacists – probably at the beginning of January – to begin to offer vaccination as well’.

He also stressed the NHS will contact patients if they are eligible for a Covid vaccination, and said vulnerable patients would be vaccinated over the coming months up to April as part of the phased rollout.

Yesterday, BMA GP committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey called on the Government and NHS England to provide clarity on ‘how exactly practices will be involved’ in the first phase of delivery ‘given the much-publicised practical restraints around storage and transportation’ of the Pfizer vaccine.

READERS' COMMENTS [5]

Vinci Ho 3 December, 2020 12:44 pm

Quintessentially predictable, after all these mad rush of forcing PCNs to cough up so called ‘designated sites’ .

Richard Greenway 3 December, 2020 12:58 pm

Make your mind up – the vaccine storage requirements haven’t actually changed in the last 2 weeks!

Patrufini Duffy 3 December, 2020 1:39 pm

NHS doesn’t have estates. You’re a cheap Guinea-pig. And they won’t replace your adrenaline or defibrillator pads if they’re used.

Dave Kew 3 December, 2020 2:06 pm

Dead GPs are acceptable collateral damage? Are we Care Home Workers?

A non 3 December, 2020 5:37 pm

its so wearying that the leadership of the NHS is so focused on politics and media manipulation thats is impossible to know what’s actually going to happen. This isnt a Covid specific issue. The NHS is an over used vanity tool for politicians and anyone else looking to milk the system for their own personal gain and to bask the the glow of the good that it does. God I wish our health service could be handed back to real people and the bullshite could be binned