The first group of patients to receive the vaccine is the over-80s.
GP Practices will start vaccinating their patients against Coronavirus from next week, NHS England has confirmed.
A letter permitting primary care services to start vaccinating was sent by Dr Nikita Kanani, Medical Director for Primary Care, and Ed Waller, Director of Primary Care, at NHS England and Improvement, late last week.
It gave practices ten days notice for the rollout and gave clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) authorisation to start vaccinating patients from Monday 14 December 2020.
The first group of patients that practices will begin vaccinating is the over-80s.
The JCVI priority groups list shows that care home residents alongside health and social care workers will also be a priority.
Nearly 1000 doses per week.
The letter read; “We expect to stand up a number of designated local vaccination services (the first based on PCN groupings) to start administering COVID-19 vaccinations in the week beginning 14 December. This first wave of sites will be the beginning of a general mobilisation of practices from their designated sites.
“Each site stood up would need to deliver 975 doses to priority patients during the week beginning 14 December –those in the over 80 cohort who can attend the site for vaccination, and taking into account other significant factors, clinical or otherwise, which may increase risk.”
The Pfizer BioNTech has proven to be a logistical challenge for the NHS with Hospitals and Warehouses being used to store the vaccine at -70C. “The vaccine would need to be used quickly in the days following delivery. We can guarantee 3.5 days of vaccination following delivery, with storage at 2-8°C.”
The letter continues; “We are working closely with CCGs to identify sites that will be ready to deliver vaccinations in that week; the number of sites coming onstream initially will vary by CCG according to the proportion of its population over 80, reflecting the priority groups selected by JCVI. CCGs have been asked to consider inequalities and deprivation when selecting sites.”
NHS England has committed to providing IT equipment and training materials for staff.
GPs have also been told that “urgent care will need to continue to be provided” but the delivery of the vaccine should be a “top priority”.
At the heart of the rollout.
Practices have also been urged to work together in order to have an effective rollout and minimise waste.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said that nursing staff will be at the heart of the vaccination programme.
RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: “I’m incredibly proud that nursing staff will be at the very heart of the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Nursing staff know that with every vaccination they give, this dreadful situation moves that little bit closer to its end. This unprecedented rollout plan relies most heavily on nursing staff in all settings and they feel great responsibility and pride today.”