The measures aim to save thousands of lives by increasing access to vaccines.
New laws allowing student nurses and medical students to administer flu and potential Covid-19 vaccines have been introduced, the government announced today.
Changes to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012, come into force today changing who is permitted to administer vaccines without a prescription.
The changes will allow student nurses and medical students alongside allied healthcare professionals to administer flu and any approved COVID-19 vaccine, potentially unsupervised, using patient-specific directions (PSDs).
PSDs are a way of supplying and/or administering medication to specific patients without the need of a prescriber present.
Professionals recruited through the NHS Bring Back Scheme will also be used to help administer vaccines.
The government claims the changes will “make it easier and quicker for patients and healthcare workers to access the vaccines they need, protecting them against fatal diseases”.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said announcing the changes; “The NHS has vast experience in vaccinating millions of people against diseases every year.
“These legal changes will help us in doing everything we can to make sure we are ready to roll out a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it has passed clinical trials and undergone rigorous checks by the regulator.”
The legislative changes will also mean that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will be able to grant emergency licenses to medicines needed for the pandemic.
Supervision is needed.
Nurses United UK have spoken out against the plans citing a need for students to be supervised.
Anthony Johnson, lead organiser for the grassroots group, said; “The Health Secretary says that the NHS has vast experience in delivering vaccinations and he’s right.
“Medical and Nursing students by the nature of their role probably do not.
“Students need to be appropriately supervised and given the opportunity to learn, which is what they’re there for, before they give these vaccines.
“We must not allow this Government to continue to blur the lines between education and work when our students are already struggling to access their taught content.”