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GPs to deliver first RSV vaccination programme from 1 September

GPs to deliver first RSV vaccination programme from 1 September

GPs have been asked to vaccinate older adults against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as part of essential contractual services this Autumn.

From 1 September, the new RSV vaccination programme will be included as an essential service under the GP contract, the Department of Health and Social Care said, with contracting details due to follow from NHS England.

It follows the JCVI’s recommendation last year that a cost-effective RSV immunisation programme should be developed to protect over-75s and infants. It recommended a one-off campaign with an initial offer covering several age cohorts, followed by a routine programme for those turning 75.

A letter to commissioners and providers said: ‘Routine NHS-funded vaccinations and immunisations are delivered as essential services under the GP Contract from the 1 September 2024, the RSV vaccination programme will be included, as set out in this letter.

‘Details of how the service will be commissioned will be shared via an NHS England deployment note and relevant contracting arrangements will be put in place accordingly.’

GP practices ‘will be required to undertake call/recall for patients as they become eligible for the programme from 1 September,’ the letter said.

The vaccine that will be used for the campaign is the bivalent recombinant vaccine developed by Pfizer called Abrysvo, which was licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in November last year.

The DHSC letter added: ‘Accurate and timely recording of all vaccines given, and good management of all associated documentation, is essential as per the standards set out in the GMS Regulations and Statement of Financial Entitlement (SFE).

‘Funding will be part of the Public Health Allocation to regional commissioners annually to disseminate, as required locally.’

Meanwhile, the infant vaccination programme will see women offered RSV vaccination in each pregnancy from 28 weeks gestation, within maternity services.

High-risk infants ‘should also receive passive immunisation against RSV in accordance with criteria in the Green Book, chapter 27a regardless of whether the mother was vaccinated during the pregnancy’, the DHSC letter said.

‘Opportunistic or on request GP delivery of immunisations will be commissioned as an essential service in the GP contract. Where commissioners may want general practice to routinely provide this service, this will need to be commissioned locally over and above the core opportunistic or on request offer and giving due regard to procurement legislation,’ the letter added.

RSV causes up to 15,000 babies under six months to be hospitalised in England every year and in winter, as many as one in six of all UK hospital admissions of babies and children are due to bronchiolitis with 80% of cases are associated with RSV.

For older adults in the UK, it is estimated that RSV leads to 175,000 GP visits and 14,000 hospital admissions annually.

In one trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year, the Pfizer RSV vaccine given during pregnancy was shown to be effective against severe RSV-associated lower respiratory tract illness in infants up to six months old.

And in a second trial, the vaccine prevented RSV-associated lower respiratory tract illness and RSV-associated acute respiratory illness in adults over 60 years of age.


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Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Krishna Malladi 24 June, 2024 5:59 pm

Looks like the old folk will be going around with sore arms this Autumn, what with the flu and Covid jabs as well.

Nicholas Sharvill 24 June, 2024 8:51 pm

No mention of prrmature births in the Pfizer trial or the withdrawal of a similar vaccine for the same reason . Why not?

Post Doc 25 June, 2024 7:26 am

So much for the proposed National Vaccination Service taking on the rollout of all future vaccine programmes. Suddenly HMG and NHSE discover they need GPs after all? Shame they don’t actually want to fund them.

Dave Haddock 25 June, 2024 7:44 am

Better late than never.
Predictably, the NHS will be using the cheaper though less effective vaccine.
“Pfizer lists Abrysvo’s price at $280 per shot compared to $295 for Arexvy.

Arexvy has shown 94% effectiveness at protecting against severe disease, Abrysvo’s trial result came in at 89%”