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Practice nurses to vaccinate against RSV in new NHS programme

Practice nurses to vaccinate against RSV in new NHS programme

General practice nurses (GPNs) in England have been asked to vaccinate older adults against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as part of essential contractual services this autumn.

From 1 September, the new RSV vaccination programme will be included as an essential service under the GP contract, with contract details due to follow, according to a letter published by NHS England and the UK Health Security Agency today. 

It follows the JCVI’s recommendation last year that a cost-effective RSV immunisation programme should be developed to protect over-75s and infants. It recommended a one-off campaign with an initial offer covering several age cohorts, followed by a routine programme for those turning 75.

A letter to commissioners and providers said: ‘Routine NHS-funded vaccinations and immunisations are delivered as essential services under the GP Contract from the 1 September 2024, the RSV vaccination programme will be included, as set out in this letter.

‘Details of how the service will be commissioned will be shared via an NHS England deployment note and relevant contracting arrangements will be put in place accordingly.’

GP practices ‘will be required to undertake call/recall for patients as they become eligible for the programme from 1 September’, the letter said.

The vaccine that will be used for the campaign is the bivalent recombinant vaccine developed by Pfizer called Abrysvo, which was licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in November last year.

The DHSC letter added: ‘Accurate and timely recording of all vaccines given, and good management of all associated documentation, is essential as per the standards set out in the GMS Regulations and Statement of Financial Entitlement (SFE).

‘Funding will be part of the Public Health Allocation to regional commissioners annually to disseminate, as required locally.’

Meanwhile, the infant vaccination programme will see women offered RSV vaccination in each pregnancy from 28 weeks gestation, within maternity services.

High-risk infants ‘should also receive passive immunisation against RSV in accordance with criteria in the Green Book, chapter 27a regardless of whether the mother was vaccinated during the pregnancy’, the DHSC letter said.

A version of this article was first published by our sister title Pulse

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