NHS Digital GP vaccination data has revealed that GP-led sites delivered more than two in three of all Covid vaccinations between December and April.
NHS England has published guidance on the planned autumn Covid booster programme, which capped GP involvement at 75% of jabs.
But experimental data published by NHS Digital earlier this month shows that GPs in England delivered more than 27 million Covid vaccination appointments between December 2020 and April 2021.
A Pulse analysis of the data compared with official Government figures on the total number of people vaccinated in England during that time shows that this represented 67% – 27,322,106 out of 41,025,263 vaccinations.
A breakdown by month shows that GPs delivered the highest proportion of Covid jabs during December – the first month of the programme following the first vaccination on 8 December – at just over 72%.
GPs also delivered 72% of total Covid vaccines in January and February, falling to 58% in March and 67% in April when phase two of the programme was launched. At this point, deliveries slowed for first-dose jabs, suggesting more second doses were given – likely to be provided by GPs inviting back their patients from early on in the programme.
The experimental NHS Digital statistics count Covid vaccination appointments carried out by PCNs or GP practices recorded in the National Immunisation Management Service (NIMS).
Although the data collection cut-off date was 4 May, figures ‘may change with each monthly release’ as practices ‘can submit counts for previous months at any time’, NHS Digital said.
Meanwhile, NHS England’s new booster programme guidance also revealed that GPs are ‘actively encouraged’ to pool flu vaccines between practices to enable co-administration with the Covid vaccine at a PCN grouping level.
Last week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended a two-stage Covid vaccine programme starting in September, to take place alongside flu vaccinations.
Vaccinations delivered in England, Dec 2020 – April 2021
Dec 20 Jan 21 Feb 21 March 21 April 21 Total GP vaccine appts 796,340 5,410,238 6,569,661 6,995,687 7,550,180 27,322,106 People vaccinated 1,101,975 7,514,887 9,150,995 12,047,225 11,210,181 41,025,263 % share 72.3 72.0 71.8 58.1 67.4 66.6