GP-led vaccine sites can share stock with other vaccination sites in ‘exceptional circumstances’, NHS England has said.
Vaccines can be transferred between settings if all other measures to prevent wastage have been exhausted, according to new guidance.
Earlier this month, PCN groupings were told they can move supply of the Oxford vaccine around individual GP practices and to care homes and housebound patients.
Now new NHS England guidance has said that vaccines can be transferred between GP-led sites, hospital hubs, other local sites and mass vaccination centres.
Any transfers must be approved by regional directors of commissioning and chief pharmacists and recorded, it added.
The guidance, published this week, said that sites are ‘expected’ to use vaccines delivered to them, thanks to ‘sophisticated’ NHS England systems that ensure ‘the right amount of vaccine is delivered to the right place at the right time’.
However, it added that mutual aid may be necessary in ‘some limited circumstances’ such as in the ‘minority of cases where there has been an unavoidable failure in delivery or equipment’ or where there will otherwise be ‘significant’ wastage that is not the ‘fault’ of the provider.
NHS England said: ‘First and foremost, it is expected that designated administration sites will use the vaccines allocated to them to vaccinate their patients and within the JCVI cohorts applicable at the time and as soon as practically possible.’
Mutual aid is only permitted in ‘very exceptional, in extremis circumstances’ and as an ‘absolute last resort’, it added.
Reserve lists of patients within eligible JCVI cohorts who can attend at short notice should be used to mitigate surplus vaccine in the first instance, it said.
The guidance added that PCNs must not book patients in for vaccinations on the day they receive vaccine deliveries unless existing stocks are sufficient to meet demand.
Meanwhile, it said that NHS England may ‘occasionally’ direct transfers of vaccine stock to ‘rebalance stock in the system’.
Last week, GPs were told they can offer jabs to patients outside the top four priority groups if vaccine risks being wasted.
A version of this story first appeared on our sister publication, Pulse.