GPs are ‘strongly recommended’ to set up reserve lists of patients who can attend for vaccinations ‘at short notice’, NHS England has said.
GPs’ ‘primary aim’ should ‘always’ be not to waste any vaccine stock, it added.
It comes as Pulse revealed on Friday that GPs could give unused vaccines to the over 75s amid reports that some vials were being wasted.
And the Government has today announced that GPs can now begin inviting patients over 70 and the clinically extremely vulnerable for Covid vaccinations.
In an operational update seen by Pulse, NHS England told GPs that reserve lists have ‘successfully ensured minimal wastage’ at some sites.
The update, sent to vaccination sites at the weekend, said: ‘Local vaccination services, hospital hubs and vaccination centres have successfully ensured minimal wastage by using reserve lists who are willing to attend at short notice.
‘We strongly recommend setting up a reserve list that can be invited at short notice.’
It added: ‘We recognise the planning that goes into ensuring that every slot is filled and to ensuring you are reaching all parts of the prioritised population in your area.’
Local authority vaccination leads can help sites identify social care workers who could be added to the list, NHS England said.
The note set out ‘three key rules’ for vaccine deployment, including that no vaccine should be wasted, second doses should be given after 12 weeks and JCVI priority groups one and two should be offered a jab first.
It said: ‘Your primary aim [is] always to not waste any vaccine that saves lives.’
Last week, NHS England said there was ‘absolutely no reason’ why vaccines should be wasted and that practices should start vaccinating the next cohort if none from the first two were ‘left’ to receive their first dose.
Speaking in Friday’s press briefing, the chief medical officer backed ‘perfectly sensible’ GP efforts to ‘eke out’ every vaccine dose they can while the Prime Minister praised GPs for their ‘unbelievable job’ so far.
From today, GPs can begin inviting patients aged over 70 and the clinically vulnerable to receive their first jab, although the over 80s, care home residents and staff and frontline health and social workers remain the priority.
The Government has announced that over 3.8 million people in the UK have so far received their first vaccine dose and the NHS ‘remains on track’ to vaccinate the top four cohorts by 15 February.
JCVI priority groups:
- residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
- all those 75 years of age and over
- all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
- all those 65 years of age and over
- all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
- all those 60 years of age and over
- all those 55 years of age and over
- all those 50 years of age and over