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AIMp: Cut red tape to facilitate delivery of second COVID-19 boosters

Decision makers should ensure the second COVID-19 booster dose programme is “as red tape-free as possible” for pharmacies, “to ensure [a] smooth delivery of the programme”, AIMp chief Leyla Hannbeck has told C+D.

Dr Hannbeck welcomed the government’s intention to offer a second booster jab to at-risk groups from this spring - a move the UK Health Security Agency (UK HSA) announced yesterday (February 21).

“We are confident that our members will continue mobilising and delivering an efficient service like they have done so far,” she added.

 

Read more: Pharmacy-led sites to be ‘primary’ provider of COVID-19 jabs for 5-11-year-olds

 

Within the first year of the pharmacy COVID-19 vaccination programme, the sector administered 22 million doses of the vaccines, according to data shared by NHS England and NHS Improvement last month.

Health secretary Sajid Javid has asked the NHS to prepare to offer second booster doses to those eligible and that the NHS “will set out further details in due course”, he said yesterday.

 

AIMp: Make service “the domain” of pharmacy

 

“AIMp has been advocating for the vaccination service to become the domain of community pharmacy since the start of the vaccination programme in early 2021” to allow GPs and primary care networks to focus on handlining the “backlog of patients”, Dr Hannbeck told C+D.

 

Read more: Pharmacy best place for Javid’s proposed vaccination service, say sector leaders

 

“We are asking the decision-makers to ensure the process is as red tape-free as possible and that sufficient support is provided to pharmacies to ensure smooth delivery of the programme,” she added.

 

Second boosters in the spring for the “most vulnerable”

 

It follows advice by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that an additional dose for “the most vulnerable individuals” should come “around six months after the last vaccine dose”, as a “precautionary strategy”, the UK HSA announced yesterday.

The recommendation is that additional boosters should be offered to people aged 75 or over, older adults who reside in care homes, and anyone aged 12 or above who is immunosuppressed, as defined in the COVID-19 healthcare guidance Green Book.

 

Read more: Pharmacy-led COVID-19 jab sites can use some Pfizer vaccines after expiry date

 

Adults receiving a second booster will be offered either a 50-microgram dose of the Moderna vaccine or a 30-microgram dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech version, while eligible 12 to 18-year-olds will only be offered a 30-microgram dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech version.

 

JCVI: Autumn booster programme “expected”

 

The JCVI also advised the UK government that a further booster is “likely” to be advised “for people who are at higher risk of severe” COVID-19 in the autumn , the UK HSA added.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of COVID-19 vaccination on the JCVI, said: “The JCVI will continue its rolling review of the vaccination programme and the epidemiological situation, particularly in relation to the timing and value of doses for less vulnerable older adults and those in clinical risk groups ahead of autumn 2022.”

Meanwhile, Mr Javid added that he has “asked the NHS to prepare to offer those eligible a vaccine from around six months after their last dose”.

The JCVI will continue to review whether the booster programme “should be extended to further at-risk groups”, Mr Javid said.

 

Are you/your pharmacy involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme? Share your experiences on the C+D Community

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