People wait to receive the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine at a Superdrug pharmacy, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in Guildford, Britain on January 14, 2021 (REUTERS/Peter Cziborra)

Vaccines deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi has extended the indemnity provided to the community pharmacies until June 30, 2021.

In a statement tabled in the parliament on Tuesday (Jan 19), the minister extended the indemnity provided to the community pharmacies further with an aim to push the Covid-19 vaccination drive in pharmacy sites and protect pharmacies with necessary indemnity cover.

The minister said in his statement: “Without adequate indemnity cover, pharmacies would be unable to commit to the programme. Their participation is crucial as they have been selected to fill geographical gaps in cover or where NHS capacity is such that they are unable to participate. Therefore, DHSC has provided a time limited clinical negligence indemnity to community pharmacy to June 30, 2021, to enable them to engage at pace with this programme.”

“The provision of such an indemnity enables pharmacy contractors to start to run services, whilst the Department and NHS England and Improvement continue to work with the community pharmacy sector on a longer-term approach to insuring community pharmacy for Covid-19 vaccinations.

“We had originally intended to time limit this to the end of March but with the decision to extend the period between vaccine doses, have decided to run the indemnity until the end of June.”

All claims of clinical negligence will be managed through the provider of the current state backed schemes – NHS Resolution – in line with the existing schemes.

The need for the indemnity was extremely urgent as pharmacy led centres could not begin to vaccinate patients until this was in place and indeed vaccinations have begun at six centres as of January 14, the minister said, adding, “delaying would have postponed the roll out of this vital aspect of the vaccination programme, restricting access to the vaccine in some areas of the county.

“We concluded that such a delay was not acceptable, and I hope it is clear why this was indeed a case of special urgency. Therefore, the normal 14 sitting days for consideration has on this occasion not been possible.”

The latest indemnity plan will cover clinical negligence, employer’s and public liability where a care provider seeking to become a ‘designated setting’ is unable to secure sufficient commercial insurance, or where an existing provider has been operating without sufficient cover.

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