COVID-19 vaccination deployment next steps and plans for weeks of 8 and 15 March




Publication approval reference: C1165


  • ICS and STP Leaders

Copy to:

  • CCG Accountable Officers
  • PCN Led Local Vaccination Sites
  • Chief Executives of all NHS trusts and foundation trusts
  • NHS Regional Directors
  • NHS Regional Directors of Commissioning
  • Chairs of ICSs and STPs
  • Chairs of NHS trusts and foundation trusts
  • All Local Government Chief Executives

2 March 2021

Dear Colleague,

Collectively, working with partners at a national and local level, the NHS in England has offered over 17 million vaccinations and delivered on the Government’s commitment to the country. To support your continued work, this letter sets out the key priorities and actions for immediate review. These include:

  • ensuring maximum penetration and uptake within the JCVI cohorts
  • second dose planning and delivery
  • preparations for vaccination in line with increased supply.

Cohort penetration and uptake

Local systems have made an impressive start to the COVID-19 vaccination programme. However, there is geographical variation between and within local areas. As we continue to progress vaccination in line with the JCVI cohorts, it is important that all vaccination providers focus on ensuring maximum cohort penetration, inviting patients outside the cohort only in very limited circumstances to avoid wastage.

The guidance published last week on ‘pop up centres’ allows local systems to take the opportunity to set up mobile temporary vaccination clinics at places of worship and other local venues in the community at which those from eligible cohorts who have not presented at fixed vaccination sites may feel more welcome. Guidance on how this can be done is here.

We ask all systems to use these and other interventions to redouble effort and ensure all eligible frontline health and social care workers, the clinically extremely vulnerable and clinical vulnerable, as well as unpaid carers and those aged 60 and over are offered a vaccination. Bookings can be made through the National Booking System into community pharmacies or vaccination centres, in addition to PCN LVS booking processes, and local communication plans should be used to encourage uptake through all options.

Second dose planning

Second dose delivery is underway and national supplies for second doses will be distributed in the usual way. Further guidance will be issued shortly.

A national, public-facing campaign to support second doses will commence shortly and further information and material for local use will be shared with you via your regional teams nearer the time.

Preparations for coming weeks

Delivery models will shortly receive supply notifications for the week of 8 March, as well as advanced notification of anticipated supply for the week of 15 March.

There will be minimal allocations of new vaccine in the first part of the week commencing 8 March, reflecting national supply available to the programme. However, we are expecting substantial increased supply in the volume of vaccine available into week of 15 March and are therefore asking you to start planning now.

For the week of 8 March in particular, allocations available to sites for first doses allows for some focus on groups to whom vaccination delivery is more complex and time intensive. It also provides an opportunity for all sites to end the week in a near-zero stock position.

With this in mind, 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 (web form []) through which all sites should record their stock position on a weekly basis and record any wastage.

For PCNs, all eligible housebound patients who have not yet had their vaccination should be re-offered the vaccine and housebound visits for cohorts 1-6 should be complete by close on Sunday 14 March. PCNs should also complete as many second visits (for first doses) to care homes as possible, liaising with care home owners to ensure as many care home staff as possible can be vaccinated on these second visits. We have written separately on this matter here.

Hospital hubs are asked to ensure all eligible frontline healthcare staff, including bank, agency and outsourced contract supplier staff, have been re-offered a first dose vaccination.

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.

Staffing plans need to ensure that you maximise the opportunity of using people that have been secured by your lead employer either through local recruitment or the national workforce offerings. This will be particularly important when planning vaccination clinics over the Easter bank holiday weekend. We will also be giving regional leads the option of enabling direct booking of NHS Volunteer vaccination stewards via the GoodSam App for Primary Care led vaccination services and we encourage you to engage as soon as possible.

PCNs should ensure clinics are booked and patients invited to ensure all vaccine received in week commencing 15 March is used by close on 21 March, with clear reserve lists of patients from eligible cohorts who can be called in where required, at short notice, to ensure no vaccine wastage.

Vaccination centres and community pharmacy-led local vaccination services should ensure appointments are planned and made available to the National Booking Service as soon as possible. More detailed guidance is being issued directly to providers to support this.

Thank you for your continued efforts and, as ever, we are hugely grateful for everything that you are doing to make the NHS-delivery of this programme the success that it is.

Yours sincerely,

Emily Lawson | NHS Chief Commercial Officer and SRO Vaccine Deployment | NHS England & NHS Improvement

Dr Nikita Kanani | Medical Director for Primary Care | NHS England & NHS Improvement