This site is intended for health professionals only

NHSE urges all GPs to get involved in Covid vaccination programme ‘now’

60m doses pfizer vaccine autumn booster

NHS England has urged all GP practices to get involved with the Covid vaccination programme ‘now’, rather than coming on board later when it may be ‘more complicated’ to do so.

Speaking at an NHSE webinar last week (18 November), Ed Waller, deputy director for primary care, acknowledged that some people would prefer to deliver the programme in their own practice, but said that he would ‘incite all practices’ to ‘get involved now’.   

He said: ‘I think it’s important that people want to make sure their practice is part of this – and that you are part of it from the beginning – and that we’re all in it to try and make sure that every practice’s patients gets the right access to this vaccine at the earliest possible moment.’

‘Once we have to make arrangements to cover practices who aren’t wanting to get involved in the programme at this point, that does make it more complicated to give people the option to come on board later, and people just need to realise that now,’ he added.

Under the new enhanced service, practices are expected to work together as part of primary care network (PCN) ‘groupings’ to deliver the programme and were required to jointly nominate a designated site for administering vaccinations from by 17 November.

In a letter to practices on 9 November, NHS England said CCGs will assess the nominated site to ensure it meets set criteria – such as vaccine storage capability – before making a recommendation. It added that PCN groupings would be informed of the outcome by 23 November.

In the webinar, Mr Waller explained there were two main reasons for NHS England taking the designated site approach – one is considerations around the vaccines themselves and what they ‘do and don’t lend themselves to and how they need to be handled’.

The second, Mr Waller said, is to ensure that there is a supply chain in place that enables the NHS to start the programme ‘as soon as possible in a successful way’.

Mr Waller added that a series of vaccines are being publicised in terms of their efficacy and availability, and delivery of any vaccination programme will continue to be a ‘moving picture’.

‘This will continue I think to be a moving picture and the way in which the NHS delivers vaccination against Covid could change as a result of that,’ he said.

‘I think we’re all accepting of that, so this is the first set of arrangements to make sure that general practice, and later community pharmacy, are part of all of this, but it’s very possible that elements of this will evolve for the better as we go.’

The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer Covid vaccine, of which 10 million doses are expected to be available before the end of the year.

Alongside the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – which this week reported promising interim phase 3 trial results – it is one of two vaccines which GPs in England may begin to deliver this year as part of Covid vaccination proramme enhanced service.

A version of this article was first published by Pulse’s sister title Management in Practice


Not Arvind Madan 24 November, 2020 4:34 pm

Even when they don’t mean to, they still sound like they are giving out orders.

David Jarvis 24 November, 2020 4:35 pm

Have they considered requesting and please. Language is very powerful and NHSE should realise that there power is a customer offering a price for services and seeing the best deal they can get. Not a boss ordering serfs around as they seem to think. And remember good builders and plumbers can pick and choose their work the rest is left to the cowboys.

Michael Mullineux 24 November, 2020 5:04 pm

Please explain how it will be more complicated to be involved once we have details, or is it preferable to plan without basic information just to revoke and have to readjust as NHSE repeatedly change their minds and micromanage as usual. Covid vaccinations once available will proceed despite NHSE involvement because without GP innovation and delivery, there isn’t a prayer that the vaccines will be administered in the envisaged timeframes.

David Jarvis 24 November, 2020 7:12 pm

Walk in and out location for Covid vaccination not suitable because it has carpet!! And that is why NHSE cannot do anything. We have used same location for flu jabs as good access easy one way in and out flow with social distancing. Lots of outdoor shoes so how is lino better? We are not lying on it.

terry sullivan 24 November, 2020 10:19 pm

i thought phe said yesterday gps would ne minimally involved?

terry sullivan 24 November, 2020 10:21 pm

is waller odd? “incite”? does he know what that means?

David jenkins 25 November, 2020 12:38 am

terry sullivan
is waller odd? “incite”? does he know what that means?

i presume he meant “invite”, and hit the “c” key which is next to the”v”

good thing he isn’t a surgeon and wrote “rt” instead of “lt” – but i suppose if you’re not actually doing meaningful work it makes no difference !

Not on your nelly 25 November, 2020 8:22 am