GPs will not begin delivery of Covid vaccinations on the 1 December and can use designated sites to give patients aged 50-64 flu jabs next week to ‘test arrangements’, NHS England has said.
Practices will be given ‘at least 10 days notice’ of the start of the Covid vaccination campaign, it added.
The Government announced on Friday that GP practices will deliver flu jabs to patients aged 50-64 from 1 December.
And the BMA announced earlier this month that practices should also prepare for the Covid vaccination programme to start from 1 December – as first revealed by Pulse.
In a letter sent to PCN groupings and CCGs yesterday, NHS England said: ‘Vaccinations will not commence in PCN grouping sites during the week of 30/11.
‘We will aim to give all sites at least 10 days notice of the first vaccines becoming available to ensure sites can be stood-up and clinics arranged.’
It added: ‘As you know, there was an announcement this week by the Secretary of State for Health that the flu vaccination programme should be extended to the 50-64 year old cohort.
‘In light of the confirmation that Covid vaccinations will not commence during the week of 30/11, we are conscious that some PCN groupings may wish to use this opportunity to invite this cohort to their single designated site, both to test arrangements whilst ensuring the best sequencing of the two programmes.’
Practices who wish to do this should advise their CCG so they can ensure ‘any equipment requirements and one-off funding requests are prioritised’, NHS England added.
The letter also said that the Enhanced Service Specification and Collaboration Agreement for the Covid vaccination programme will be published ‘imminently’.
Practices will be able to ‘formally confirm their sign up over the following seven days’, it added.
NHS England also said that £20m has been aside for PCN groupings’ ‘one-off’ setup costs for the sites and that equipment will be provided free of charge.
The letter said: ‘CCGs will agree with PCN groupings the one-off costs of setup which will be met by the NHS from an agreed mobilisation date, applying a value for money test. Up to £20m has initially been made available to systems to meet these expenses.
‘Once signed up to the ES, PCN groupings will be asked to confirm as a matter of priority what equipment their site requires from a national inventory which will be provided free of charge.’
It added: ‘PPE will be supplied as part of the consumables drop to each site ahead of vaccine deliveries and PCNs do not need to source this via the DHSC portal.’
GP practices are gearing up to deliver a major Covid vaccination programme from designated sites as soon as a candidate gains approval from the MHRA.
In its latest email bulletin to practices, NHS England yesterday said it had received a ‘fantastic response’ to its call for practices to volunteer to deliver the service.