GP practices in some areas will need to provide Covid vaccinations on Christmas Day, NHS England has confirmed to Nursing in Practice‘s sister publication Pulse.
NHS England emphasised that it will not be an explicit requirement that all practices will have to open to vaccinate on Christmas Day when the DES is published later this month.
But they said the nature of the vaccine means that some GP-led vaccination centres will inevitably need to provide the vaccinations over bank holidays during the festive period.
The letter informing practices about the Covid vaccination programme had said that vaccination sites ‘will need to be able to deliver a vaccination service seven days per week including bank holidays between 8am and 8pm’.
When Pulse pressed NHS England on this, a spokesperson said: ‘Despite the complexities, the NHS is putting plans in place so that it is ready to deliver a vaccine as soon as one becomes available. Potential covid-19 vaccines require specific handling and so if necessary, practices will need to have the ability to deliver 12 hours a day, seven days a week to avoid any waste.’
They told Pulse that some areas may need to vaccinate patients on Christmas Day based on clinical need and vaccine availability – this will be as part of the wider vaccination programme.
The Pfizer vaccine is set to come in batches of 975, and in vials of five doses Pulse understands – and not 1,000, as we originally reported – and each batch will need to be used within five days.
The batches will be stored centrally at temperatures of minus 70 degrees, and will need to be kept by GP vaccination sites at temperatures of 2-8 degrees.
Dr Nikki Kanani clarified the position in a tweet.