NHS bosses have told GP surgeries and primary care networks in England to be ready to start running Covid-19 vaccination centres by Monday, December 14.
A letter sent from NHS England and NHS Improvement to all surgeries and primary care leads warns that the “scale and complexity” of the vaccination programme would make it “one of the greatest challenges the NHS has ever faced”, PA reports.
“It is crucial we start to activate local vaccination services to allow priority patient cohorts to start accessing the vaccine.”
The vaccine sites must be prepared to give out 975 doses of the vaccine in the week beginning December 14 – the number of doses in each of the Pfizer vaccine’s packs.
The first people to receive the vaccine at the centres will be “priority patients”, who the letter explains covers people over 80 who are able to attend the vaccination centre, as long as their other risk factors “clinical or otherwise” had been taken into account.
It read: “The vaccine would need to be used quickly in the days following delivery.
“We can guarantee 3.5 days of vaccination following delivery, with storage at 2C-8C.”
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 aged 80 and older.
CCGs have been asked to consider inequalities and deprivation – some of the biggest Covid-19 risk factors – when selecting vaccination centre sites.
Centres will also be stocked 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 site, and the process for assuring readiness before delivery of vaccines.”
It said staff at the vaccination sites would be provided with training, and be “given full support to mobilise within the timescale”.