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No requirement for 15-minute observation period with Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

Covid vaccine, booster

By Awil Mohamoud
Reporter
7 January 2021

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GP practices administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine will not need to monitor patients for 15 minutes after vaccination, NHS England has confirmed.

Its latest standard operating procedure – updated yesterday (6 January) – said: ‘For the Oxford/AstraZeneca there is not a requirement for 15 minutes observation unless this is indicated after clinical assessment.’

Patients receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine must, however, still be observed for 15 minutes after vaccination, it added.

Healthcare Leader’s sister title Management in Practice was first to exclusively reveal the news yesterday.

An MHRA spokesperson told Management in Practice: ‘The fifteen minute observation period time was introduced for the Pfizer vaccine guidance as a precaution following early reports of anaphylaxis following vaccination. 

‘Such reports have so far not been observed with the AstraZeneca vaccine. However, as with all injectable vaccines, appropriate medical treatment and supervision should always be readily available in case of an anaphylactic event following the administration of the vaccine.’

‘So much easier’

The Oxford vaccine is being rolled out to GP practices today, NHS England has announced, having already been administered in hospitals earlier this week. 

Jo Wadey, practice manager, St Lawrence Surgery, Worthing told Management in Practice that her practice – which is due to start delivering vaccines next Monday – has been told it will receive 975 Pfizer and 400 AstraZeneca vaccinations (for those in care homes and housebound).

She said: ‘We are inundated with all patients asking when they are getting theirs, how can we lift their priority, when are carers getting it, and today, [calls from] dental staff.

‘We don’t have any guidance for this at the moment and have been told by our CCG to prioritise primary care staff and 80-years-plus so far.’

She added that using the Oxford/AstraZeneca will be ‘so much easier’ for the practice.

The Oxford vaccine can also be stored at between two and eight degrees and has a refrigerated shelf-life of six months, according to the NHS England SOP.

A version of this story first appeared in our sister title, Management in Practice.

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