Covid vaccination sites should plan to administer roughly twice the number of jabs from 15 March, when vaccine supply will ‘increase substantially’ for ‘several weeks’, NHS England has said.
However, this comes as there will be ‘minimal allocations’ of vaccine stock at the start of next week, ‘reflecting national supply available’.
The NHS England letter, sent yesterday, said: ‘From 11 March, vaccine supply will increase substantially and be sustained at a higher level for several weeks.
‘Therefore, from the week of 15 March we are now asking systems to plan and support all vaccination centres and local vaccination services to deliver around twice the level of vaccine available in the week of 1 March.’
Covid vaccination sites will ‘shortly’ be informed of vaccine deliveries arriving next week and ‘anticipated’ supply for the week beginning 15 March, NHS England said.
They should ‘start planning now’ for the increased supply, including maximising additional staffing opportunities gained through local recruitment and national workforce supply, it added.
Regional leads will be able to make NHS Volunteer vaccination stewards available to PCN sites for direct booking via the GoodSam App, NHS England said.
‘This will be particularly important when planning vaccination clinics over the Easter bank holiday weekend’, it added.
The letter said PCNs must ensure vaccine clinics are booked ahead of 15 March with reserve lists of eligible patients who can attend at short notice ‘to ensure no vaccine wastage’.
All vaccine stock received in the week of 15 March must be used by close on 21 March, it added.
PCNs should focus on ‘time-intensive’ hard-to-reach groups while stock is low next week, with an aim to end the week in a ‘near-zero stock position’, NHS England said.
It added: ‘We are asking you to ensure that you understand your current stock position and doses allocated for the week of 8 March, planning to use anything delivered by 11 March by close on Sunday 14 March.
‘We have introduced a new web form through which all sites should record their stock position on a weekly basis and record any wastage.’
The letter also said:
- PCNs should focus on ‘maximum cohort penetration’ and invite patients outside eligible cohorts ‘only in very limited circumstances to avoid wastage’;
- Local areas should use ‘pop up’ vaccination centres and ‘other interventions’ to ‘redouble’ efforts to ensure all eligible groups are offered a jab;
- Second doses will be distributed ‘in the usual way’ and a national campaign will launch to promote them, with more guidance to follow;
- PCNs should re-offer the vaccine to eligible housebound patients who haven’t had it yet and complete housebound visits for the first six cohorts by Sunday 14 March;
- And they should complete as many care home second visits to deliver first doses as possible.
It comes as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that more than nine in 10 adults across the UK have either already been – or intend to be – vaccinated against Covid-19.
And the NHS has this week begun inviting patients aged 60-63 for their first Covid-19 jab, as the vaccination programme continues to expand.
Health secretary Matt Hancock this week announced that more than 20 million people across the UK have now had their first Covid jab.