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GPs encouraged to set up drive-through clinics to improve Covid vaccine uptake

GPs encouraged to set up drive-through clinics to improve Covid vaccine uptake
By Costanza Pearce
1 April 2021

GP-led vaccination sites should consider setting up drive-through vaccination clinics where this will improve uptake in their local populations, NHS England has said.

In an update to its standard operating procedures on Friday (26 March), NHS England said PCNs can deploy a drive-through Covid vaccination model to ‘help improve patient access’ and ‘maximise’ vaccine uptake among groups with ‘relatively low coverage’.

The document said that while there is ‘no requirement’ for PCNs to do so, commissioners are ‘encouraged to work with existing contractors to establish drive-through clinics where this will help to improve uptake in areas with low coverage’.

They should consider travel times, ease of access for ‘historically underserved’ communities and targeting areas with the greatest health inequalities to ‘determine if such provision will better meet the needs of the populations they serve’, it added.

PCNs can deliver drive-through clinics at their designated site if this was agreed as part of the original clinical assurance process, or inform commissioners of their intention to do so in writing, NHS England said.

Commissioners must also approve and confirm proposals for drive-through clinics at alternative locations in writing and PCNs must extend their CQC licences to cover the additional location, it added.

The document set out various conditions for rolling out the model, including that the Oxford/AstraZeneca is currently the only appropriate vaccine for deployment at a drive-through clinic.

And providers should ‘consider’ completing an initial clinical review of each patient ‘prior to the clinic if possible’, although this ‘should be repeated prior to vaccination’, it said.

Patients are only required to stay for 15 minutes after receiving their jab if the driver has been vaccinated, it added.

Any additional materials needed, such as canopies or high-visibilty PPE, will not be provided and should be ‘sourced locally’, NHS England said.

Earlier this month, NHS England said local systems could deploy drive-through, pop-up and mobile clinics to help maximise uptake among eligible cohorts.

Concerns around uptake in certain groups are ongoing, with recent data revealing that Covid jab uptake amid over-70s from Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds severely trails their white peers. 

GPs have been working to boost uptake in BAME groups amid widely circulating misinformation regarding vaccine safety.

This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.

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