The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has said it supports changes to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 which came into force last week.
The NPA is supportive of “the deployment of effective and legal mechanisms” to bring Covid-19 pandemic under control as long as “appropriate safety, quality and efficacy measures have been put in place.”
The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) alongside the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recently published the outcome of a consultation on changes to the regulations to support the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines.
They follow a consultation on moves to give emergency approval for a vaccine’s use across the UK and an expanded workforce, which will be trained to give the injections to immunise as much of the population as quickly possible.
The consultation, which ran for three weeks between 28 August and 18 September and received 191,740 completed responses, concluded that there will be three key changes to the proposals set out in the original consultation document.
The first would be robust scrutiny of the impact of regulation 174A – the new power to impose conditions and dealing with their consequences. Second, promoting objectivity by changing the ‘objective bystander’ test that relates to loss of immunity from civil liability. And finally, creating an additional level of reassurance in relation to the expanded workforce.
Community pharmacists, as part of the expanded workforce, will now be authorised to administer a mass Covid-19 vaccine under new laws that have come into force.
In it’s response to the consultation, the NPA said it is supportive of the proposal by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on advising the government to use a tested but unlicensed vaccine against Covid-19 in the interest of public health.
Helga Mangion, policy manager at the NPA, said: “We are pleased with the reassurance from DH and MHRA of their commitment to robust scrutiny, objectivity and safety.
“In our submission we reiterated the need for their objectives to be reviewed on a regular basis in line with new research and pandemic progression.
“We foresee community pharmacies will also have a crucial role to play in ensuring as many people as possible get protected by any future coronavirus vaccine.
“Provided the appropriate safety, quality and efficacy measures have been put in place, the NPA is supportive of the deployment of effective and legal mechanisms for bringing this pandemic under control.”