NHS England & Improvement has said it will “very soon” release details of how some community pharmacies could “lead vaccination sites” in the Covid-19 immunisation programme.
Addressing NHSE&I’s community pharmacy webinar last night (Thursday November 12), primary care strategy director Ed Waller said that as well as pharmacists being able to assist with primary care networks’ vaccination drives and at ‘mass vaccination centres’ there is “also an opportunity for community pharmacy itself to lead vaccination sites”.
Mr Waller stressed that only a limited number of pharmacies will be eligible as “your average community pharmacy premises” may not be able to accommodate the “very specific handling requirements” for some of the vaccine products that will likely be used.
“[The way some vaccines] must be constituted and stored, shelf life and other things will mean there needs to be concentrated delivery of some of these things from a single site – not like the flu programme.
“Nonetheless, we think some community pharmacies will be able to offer a site and will be able to stand up – we know how keen some of you are to play a part in this.
“We will be getting in touch with you very soon.”
In a statement today, the PSNC said due to the complexity of the rollout and the storage requirements of the Pfizer vaccine, pharmacies' involvement in the programme "will be very different from any involvement they have in other vaccination programmes".
"The majority of pharmacy contractors are unlikely to have the capacity or the space needed to provide a vaccination site on their own," the negotiator stressed, saying the best option for most contractors who wish to play a role will be to work with their local PCN's vaccination site.
During the webinar, NHSE&I also revealed that it is “looking at piloting access to [Covid-19] antigen testing through pharmacies” through a pilot based in the north east of England.
Pharmacy Network News has approached NHSE&I for more information.