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NHSE&I: Pharmacy COVID jab sites should adopt security plans against protestors

Pharmacy-led COVID-19 vaccination sites have been advised to ensure they have “clear protocols in place” to “maintain a strong security culture” for staff, patients and premises.

Admission to COVID-19 vaccination sites should be supervised “both for staff and patients attending vaccinations”, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) wrote in its updated standard operating procedure (SOP) for the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

“There is a risk that protestors may try and pose as either patients or staff,” NHSE&I added.

Local vaccination services can also read the protest security guidance in the Site Security section on FutureNHS, according to the SOP.


Update existing plans


Local vaccination sites should also review their existing security plans, NHSE&I added, making sure they have arrangements in place including:

  • “site inductions – making sure that all personnel involved in the site are made aware of the security arrangements and responsibilities

  • awareness – making time available for site staff and volunteers to undertake relevant security training, including Action Counter Terrorism e-learning

  • briefings – involving all site staff and volunteers in regular briefings about the operation of the site and the associated security arrangements

  • reporting – creating a culture where site staff and volunteers can easily report any security concerns which they might have and making sure that learning and feedback is shared from these.”


Work with the police and extra funding


NHSE&I also encouraged local vaccination sites to work with the police to inform their security-focused SOPs and report any security incident to them.

Pharmacy-led sites should make sure they have protocols to respond to any security incident, the national commissioner advised.

“This should include clear roles and responsibilities, including how sites would be locked down in the event of a security incident,” NHSE&I wrote.

Extra funding is available for security upgrades, NHSE&I added. “Reasonable requests” should be filed to the regional finance team for the COVID-19 vaccine deployment programme.

Pharmacy-led sites should refer to finance guidance on FutureNHS.

C+D reported earlier this year that Thomas Bell Pharmacy in Cumbria was vandalised with anti-vax graffiti, while the pharmacist told C+D at the time they had only seen a couple of people who “wanted to make a scene”. 

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