COVID-19 vaccine

An overview of recent national guidance on the COVID-19 vaccination programme of relevance to primary care networks (PCNs).


Mutual aid and the transfer of COVID-19 vaccines between hospital hubs, vaccination centres and local vaccination services

Published 22 January 2021

  • PCN groupings can move the AstraZeneca vaccine between member practices.
  • PCN groupings can transfer the vaccine where contractual arrangements are in place, for example third parties joining the PCN via collaboration agreements or delivery sub-contractors.
  • With these in place, the originating PCN retains responsibility for governance and control of the vaccines to be administered at all times, for all approved vaccines.
  • Transfer within an NHS trust is permitted by SOP terms and temporary authorisation.

Factors influencing COVID-19 vaccine uptake among minority ethnic groups

Published 18 January 2021

  • There is a significant risk that vaccine uptake among minority ethnic groups will be low.
  • The groups with the highest vaccine hesitancy are Black ethnic groups, followed by Pakistani/Bangladeshi and Any Other White (including Eastern European) groups.
  • Factors driving vaccine hesitancy and barriers vary with each community, requiring tailored interventions.
  • Initial and ongoing community engagement is key to informing these interventions – for staff, for healthcare messages and for vaccine distribution strategies.

Access to national workforce supply routes for PCN groupings

Published 14 January 2021

  • Practices will have to fund the cost of paid administrative and clinical staff from national providers – Agenda for Change pay scales. The lead provider will invoice the PCN grouping in line with the MOU .
  • PCN groupings are able to access the national pool on a similar basis to other providers.
  • It’s not mandatory; groupings are free to make their own arrangements.

COVID-19 vaccination in older adult care homes: the next stage

Published 13 January 2021

  • NHS England and NHS Improvement is expecting all PCN local vaccination services to administer the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to care home residents and staff in the older adult care homes for which the PCN is responsible. This is to be done by the end of this week wherever possible and, at the latest, by the end of next week (Sunday 24 January).
  • Services may need to operate in line with the maximum hours stipulated in the Enhanced Services specification, 8am to 8pm, 7 days per week, and you should approach your clinical commissioning group for any support required.
  • To ensure the fastest possible coverage of care homes, first doses delivered in a care home setting from 14 December 2020 to close Sunday 17 January will now carry an enhanced additional payment of £30 instead of the £10 confirmed on 11 January, and doses delivered in the week beginning 18 January a payment of £20.
  • Regions, integrated care systems and CCGs will need to coordinate mutual aid provision to ensure that all older adults care homes which fall under PCNs with lead responsibility for care homes, and which have chosen not to sign up to the enhanced service, have been visited and vaccinated by the end of w/c 18 January.

Instruction on timing of second dose of COVID-19 vaccinations

Published 11 January 2021

  • Instruction that all appointments to receive the second dose must be rescheduled, with recipients to be booked in for a second dose in the 12th week.
  • An additional supplement of £10 per dose on top of the item of service fee for all vaccines delivered in a care home setting has been set up. Rescheduling support has been provided and made available to PCN-led local vaccination services. (Details of payment have since been updated on 13 January]).

COVID-19 vaccination centres: operating framework

Published 8 January 2021

  • Operating framework has been developed to promote a consistent and equitable approach to the delivery of COVID-19 vaccination centres across England.
  • Each vaccination centre must appoint a clinical lead and operational lead.
  • All VCs must follow existing guidance on being COVID-19 secure. 
  • SOP should be followed for booking appointments (see below).
  • Details on patient check in, pre-vaccination clinical assessment and operational considerations (including patient consent).
  • A daily situation report (SitRep) needs to be completed on the national reporting tool by all vaccination centres from day one of the site going live.
  • Information on inventory management (including ordering further vaccine stock).

Letter: Operational guidance: Vaccination of frontline health and social care workers

Published 7 January 2021

  • Offers further information following instruction in a letter of 30 December 2020 that, due to increased supply, vaccination can now be expanded to frontline health and social care workers.
  • By mid-January NHS trusts (including acute, mental health, community and ambulance trusts) will be established as “hospital hubs” with a responsibility for COVID-19 vaccine delivery to all individuals within JCVI cohort 2b. 
  • Priority to be given to health workers at highest risk.
  • Should work with LAs to deliver vaccinations to all frontline social care workers.
  • An SOP for healthcare workers is included at Appendix 1 to support local system planning and the SOP for social care workers is to follow.

Letter: Freeing up practices to support COVID-19 vaccination

Published 7 January 2021

  • Sets out further support NHSEI is taking to free up GPs, practice teams and PCNs to advance the vaccine rollout.
  • Asks of clinical commissioning groups (CCG), including suspension of locally commissioned services, except where these are specifically in support of vaccination, and redeployment of CCG staff to support primary care.
  • National steps include further funding for clinical directors for Q4 equivalent to an increase from 0.25 WTE to 1 WTE. Delay of the planned introduction of the new standardised specification for extended access as part of the network contract DES.

SOP: COVID-19 vaccination centres: information and guidance on setting up and managing the booking capacity of each vaccination centre

Published 7 January 2021

  • Developed to provide Vaccination Centre (VC) operational leads and site managers with information and guidance on setting up and managing the booking capacity of each centre.
  • Information on invitation to patients for appointments. When patients book, they will book appointments for their first and second dose. Site managers to schedule first dose appointments in weeks 1-4 and then second dose in weeks 12-15.
  • Bookings to be made through National Booking System (NBS), which ‘is complimentary to the other existing PCN and secondary care services’ where vaccinations are already being delivered.

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