Publishing approval reference: C1166
To: PCN-led Local Vaccination Sites
- Clinical Commissioning Groups
- All GPs
- Regional Heads of Primary Care and Public Health
- Regional Directors of Commissioning Finance
- Regional Medical Directors
2 March 2021
Dear PCN COVID vaccination sites
This letter describes forthcoming vaccine supply for first doses, providing advanced notification of a substantial increase in the volume of vaccine available and the need to use it quickly to prevent wastage.
Patients in cohort 6 remain the focus of PCN activity for first dose delivery. In week beginning 15 March we are also asking PCNs to invite anyone in cohort 5 (those aged 65 -70) who has not been vaccinated to attend your site to ensure the highest possible uptake in this cohort. All PCNs should ensure that they only invite patients from cohorts 7 onwards when they have offered to all those in cohort 6 and followed up where invitations aren’t initially taken up from across cohorts 1-6.
Second dose delivery schedules have been shared for the first three weeks of March. If sites find that they have spare doses having delivered the relevant second doses, then these should be given as new first doses to eligible priority cohorts. In particular, we have asked people to note that 16 to 17 year olds eligible as carers or in the CEV category should receive Pfizer as it is authorised for that age group. We will confirm a process shortly to match these ‘new’ first doses with the appropriate second dose volumes in 11 weeks. All future second dose deliveries will be made 11 weeks after the corresponding first dose, allowing appointments to be booked accordingly when making first dose bookings.
We have introduced a new web form (ppds.palantirfoundry.co.uk) through which all sites should record their stock position on a weekly basis and record any wastage. Each site is asked to complete the web form on a Monday morning to reflect stock held at close of day on the Sunday preceding and recording wastage during the previous 7 days. This will help ensure all allocations are based on the correct data.
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. Sites who are receiving Pfizer vaccine to deliver second doses will get no other allocation at the start of this week. We are able to supply 160 doses of AZ on either Monday 8 or Tuesday 9 March to sites who are not delivering second dose clinics that week and you will shortly receive notification of your delivery day.
This allows for further focus on groups to whom vaccination delivery is more complex and time-consuming. It also provides an opportunity for all sites to reach a zero-stock position in anticipation of increasing supply.
With this in mind, we are asking you to take the following actions:
- Ensure that you clearly understand your current stock position and any new first doses allocated on 8/9 March, and are planning to use all of it, as well as any vaccine carried over from previous weeks, by close on Wednesday 10 or the day immediately preceding your next supply (see below).
- Ensure that all eligible housebound patients are re-offered the vaccine and that housebound visits for cohorts 1-6 are complete.
- Complete as many second visits (to offer 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.
- Ensure that all eligible patients in other residential settings (such as learning disability residential sites) have been offered the vaccine there.
- Take the opportunity to set up mobile temporary vaccination clinics at places of worship and other local venues in your community at which you could expect to reach those from eligible cohorts who have not presented at fixed vaccination sites, to ensure vaccine equity. Guidance on how this can be done is here.
We know that many sites have keenly anticipated an increase in vaccine supply to allow them to operate at maximum capacity. The Government now expects vaccine supply for new first doses to increase substantially over the weeks of 15, 22 and 29 March. Every site should expect to be able to receive, and use swiftly in each of these weeks, around twice the level of vaccine supply previously available with precise details to be confirmed shortly on a site-by-site level. We are expecting that much of the vaccine supplied to the programme and allocated to sites in the weeks of 15 and 22 March will need to be used by the end of the month.
Sites will get a delivery on either Thursday 11, Friday 12 or Saturday 13 March, and further replenishment in the week of 15 March. Site level details will follow very shortly.
In order to deliver this, we are asking you to take the following action:
- Ensure you are in a zero-stock position on the day before your delivery on 11-13 March
- Ensure that clinics are booked and patients invited to ensure all vaccine received from 11 to 13 March is used over the following week and that you start the week of 22 March in the same zero stock position.
- Ensure you have clear reserve lists of patients from eligible cohorts who can be called in where required to ensure no vaccine wastage. It would be reasonable for this to include patients in cohort 7 if cohort 6 completion makes this necessary.
- Ensure that you have planned to increase your workforce, drawing down on arrangements set out through system lead employers either through local recruitment or the national workforce offers. We encourage you to engage as soon as possible with your exact needs. We will be giving our Regional Leads the option of enabling direct booking of NHS Volunteer vaccination stewards via the GoodSam app for Primary Care led vaccination services. Regional Leads will be seeking assurance that the necessary security checks are in place for all volunteers working at Primary Care run centres and that all matters surrounding indemnity and arrangements for dealing with issues on site are in order.
We know that with the notice we are now providing you will prepare to protect even more patients against COVID-19. We are, as ever, hugely grateful for everything that you are doing to make the NHS-delivery of this programme the enormous success that it has been to date.
Dr Nikita Kanani | Medical Director for Primary Care
Ed Waller | Director of Primary Care