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Pfizer’s COVID-19 jab available to pharmacies from March

Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine will be available for sale to the public from March, Pfizer announced on Friday February 9.

Pharmacies will be able to sell Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine from March, Pfizer announced on Friday (February 9).

A Pfizer spokesperson said that the vaccine will be “packaged specifically for individual use”, instead of in the vials that held multiple dose vials that it supplied to the NHS but was otherwise “the same vaccine” used in the NHS.

The announcement came after the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved a change in licence for the Cominarty vaccine on February 9, which allowed it to be “thawed and distributed” outside of the NHS for the first time.

Read more: UK’s first private pharmacy COVID-19 vaccine service launched today

The Omicron XBB.1.5-adapted monovalent COVID-19 vaccine will be available to be sold to “high street pharmacies, occupational health providers and private healthcare companies” in England, Scotland and Wales, said the Pfizer spokesperson. 

They said the MHRA’s licensing was a “critical step” for providing the COVID-19 vaccine to people over the age of 12 who fall outside the NHS national immunisation programme. 

The Pfizer spokesperson said that vaccination service details, including the price at which the vaccine would be sold, would depend on “private vaccine service providers”. The spokesperson did not say for how much it would be sold to healthcare providers.

 

JCVI spring programme

 

Last week (February 7) the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced that the spring 2024 COVID-19 vaccination campaign should offer vaccines to people who are older than 75, living in care homes, or who are immunosuppressed.

The JCVI said that it “anticipated that any autumn 2024 campaign would likely be smaller than previous autumn COVID-19 campaigns”.

Read more: Pharmacies set to nab £2.50 fee uplift for ‘potential’ spring COVID-19 boosters

On January 31, NHS England (NHSE) said that pharmacy contractors would get an additional £2.50 for each COVID-19 vaccination they deliver in a potential spring booster programme.

Community Pharmacy England (CPE) said at the time that the uplift came because of the negotiator’s “arguments on funding”. Pharmacies have until February 22 to inform local commissioners of their intention to provide the extended vaccination service, which would run from March 31 until the end of August.

 

Pharmadoctor: “Over 1,000 appointment bookings”

 

Meanwhile, Pharmadoctor chief executive Graham Toms told C+D on February 9 that it had included the Cominarty vaccine in its private COVID-19 vaccination service following the MHRA’s announcement.

Mr Toms said it was the “only provider” that is currently offering the Pfizer jab.

Read more: Manufacturers and multiple ‘currently exploring’ rollout of private COVID jabs

On February 1, the pharmacy service provider announced that pharmacies could sign up to offer the UK’s “first” private COVID-19 vaccination service, with the service commencing on April 1, C+D exclusively revealed.

Mr Toms said that 150 pharmacists have signed up to its service in the week since its launch, and Pharmadoctor had received “over 1,000 bookings” from patients. He said that some pharmacies had received “over 80 appointment bookings from Pharmadoctor”.

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