Sandra Gidley

Pharmacies and general practices will need to work together to make a potential Covid-19 vaccination programme work for their communities, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has said.

Contractors should be aware that when it happens the rollout will be coordinated by the NHS at a local level, the pharmacy negotiator added.

This comes after the NHS released documentation to help GP surgeries prepare for a potential Covid-19 vaccination programme when the vaccines become available.

In a letter to GP practices, the NHS stated that “PCN partners in community services or community pharmacy may be able to support delivery”.

PSNC restated that it has been holding discussions with government officials about how the community pharmacy sector will be involved as characteristics of the Covid-19 vaccines – including initial storage requirements at very low temperatures and the way they will be supplied to the NHS – have implications for how the vaccination programme will be organised and the scale of the sites used. “This means the programme will work very differently to flu vaccination.”

Pharmacy is ready for Covid-19 jabs: RPS

Meanwhile, following news that Covid-19 vaccinations could be provided by the NHS from as early as next month, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Sandra Gidley, said: “Pharmacy teams are ready to support vaccination programmes against Covid-19 as and when new vaccines become available after safety standards are met.

“Pharmacy has a track record of delivering vaccination programmes across the healthcare system and must be involved in providing Covid-19 vaccines to enable the widest possible access for patients.

“We recognise the impact this could have on teams already stretched to capacity, but through collaboration with primary care colleagues we can help ensure an agile and flexible approach to vaccine provision across the country.

“To protect the workforce, it’s essential that pharmacy teams have parity of access to the vaccination alongside other colleagues in the NHS. Pharmacy has played a central role in the pandemic and experienced enormous pressures on the frontline patient care, staying open throughout to provide medicines and advice. It’s vital staff are in the first wave of those vaccinated to ensure the wellbeing of the workforce.”

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