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GPs Told To Get Ready To Start Vaccinating By December 14

Sarah Turnnidge
·2-min read

GP surgeries have been told to be ready to start staffing Covid-19 vaccination centres within days.

In a letter sent out across England’s primary care networks, NHS England and NHS Improvement warned the “scale and complexity” of the immunisation programme would make it “one of the greatest challenges the NHS has ever faced”.

It was signed by Dr Nikita Kanani, medical director for primary care at NHS England and NHS Improvement, and Ed Waller, director of primary care at the same institutions.

“It is crucial we start to activate local vaccination services to allow priority patient cohorts to start accessing the vaccine,” it said.

The vaccination sites must be ready to administer 975 doses of the vaccine to priority patients within three-and-a-half days of delivery on December 14.

Speed is of the essence with the vaccine, as it is usually stored at -70C and will only remain stable at fridge temperatures of between 2C-8C for a limited period of time.

There are 975 doses in each of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine packs, which has posed a logistical problem of how they can be broken up and distributed to other key sites such as care homes.

The first to receive the vaccine in the centres will be those aged 80 and over, as long as their other risk factors “clinical or otherwise” have been taken into account.

NHS England and NHS Improvement said the number of vaccination sites in each clinical commissioning group (CCG) area will vary according to the number of residents it has who are over 80.

CCGs have been asked to consider inequalities and deprivation – some of the biggest Covid-19 risk factors – when choosing the sites for their vaccination centres.

Each centre will also be supplied with the “IT equipment necessary to deliver the programme and a fridge”, the letter said.

It added: “We will be writing to sites identified as part of wave 1 on Monday, setting out full details of vaccine supply dates, delivery of other consumables and equipment to the...

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