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Scotland: Fees set for COVID vax – but pharmacy not ‘default’ provider

The amount of money pharmacies in Scotland will be paid for each course of the COVID-19 vaccine they administer has now been set by the government.

However, community pharmacies in Scotland will not be the “default” option through which the COVID-19 vaccination programme will be delivered, according to the government.

Should pharmacies be asked to provide COVID-19 vaccines following local agreement, they will be paid a flat rate of £12.58 per dose, which is a total of £25.16 “per course” of the vaccine, the Scottish government said in a circular published today (November 26).

The need to maintain social distancing and the requirement to follow “infection prevention and control practices” means that community pharmacies will not be the “default delivery channel for COVID-19 vaccination”, according to the circular.

However, individual health boards may commission pharmacies to take part in the programme to help with local vaccination programmes.

Health board sessions

The Scottish government and Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) have agreed that where independent contractors are called for a COVID-19 vaccination session – each taking approximately 3.5 hours – they should be paid £231, which covers “consent management” and the “vaccination fee” for all the jabs given that session.

However, where they are asked to take on more responsibility, they should be paid the £231 fee plus “a local rate depending on the extent” of the role they need to cover, “as well as local market conditions”.

Commenting on today’s announcement, CPS director of operations Matt Barclay told C+D: “This circular provides a framework for pharmacy contractors which is also being applied to all independent contractors in NHS Scotland.

“Community pharmacy is unlikely to be utilised in the early stages of any vaccination programme to support, however we may be called upon to help through our experienced workforce, and maybe premises, as more of the public have the opportunity to be vaccinated when more vaccine becomes available.

CPS members will liaise with health boards to understand their need “in the coming months”, Mr Barclay added.

He confirmed that community pharmacy teams in Scotland will be prioritised for a COVID-19 vaccination “alongside health and social care partners”.

Earlier this month, first minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that pharmacies would take part in the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine.

What do you make of this announcement?

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