PCNs have been granted greater flexibility to move Covid-19 vaccines to individual GP practices to increase the chance of ‘opportunistic uptake’.
In response to the need to expand capacity, the MHRA has said Covid-19 vaccine can now be moved to collaborating practices within a PCN group from the designated site to increase take-up.
A BMA briefing noted that all requirements on storage and handling of the vaccine must be met and there must be no onward movement of stocks to another location.
The Covid-19 enhanced service vaccination collaboration agreement states that because of the fragility of the vaccines, they can only moved for specific reasons, such as a pop-up clinic in an underserved area.
But in an amended version, PCNs can now provide supplies to individual practices ‘to increase the possibility of opportunistic administration of the Covid-19 vaccinations alongside other primary medical services to increase take up of the vaccine’.
Agreements must be made in writing between the PCN and individual practice on responsibility for transport, storage and delivery of vaccines, the updated document states.
Previously Covid-19 vaccines could only be moved if eligible patients were unable to travel to the PCN site, the vaccination population was defined as hard to reach or to reduce health inequalities.
In a letter earlier this week, NHS England said that ‘all NHS providers need to be prepared to redeploy staff to support the vaccination effort’ and that there was no supply issues with booster stocks.
GP vaccination teams have been told they will be expected to deliver vaccination 12 hours a day seven days a week as standard.
The MHRA has also said the 15-minute observation period after mRNA vaccinations can be lifted on a temporary basis during the ‘Omicron emergency response’.
PCNs that are not currently signed up to give Covid booster jabs have been asked to ‘urgently reconsider’ their participation.
Operational guidance also said that GP-led vaccination sites should increase their capacity to ‘the same level or above’ their ‘best day’ in the first two phases of the vaccination programme.