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Pharmacy teams among second cohort in line for COVID-19 vax, says PSNC

Interim ICVI advice suggests care home workers should be first in line of priority
Interim ICVI advice suggests care home workers should be first in line of priority

Community pharmacy teams will be among the second cohort in line to get vaccinated against COVID-19 – alongside other health and social care workers, PSNC has claimed.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) made the case for community pharmacy teams to receive the COVID-19 vaccine “alongside all other health and social care professionals”, and claimed that NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) “has now confirmed to us that this will be the case”, the negotiator said in an update to contractors earlier this week (November 10).

Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS) director of operations Matt Barclay told C+D today (November 12) that CPS understands that pharmacy teams wil be included "as part of the health and social care rollout of any programme” in Scotland.

“We would certainly see community pharmacy as a priority to maintain the important healthcare role with patients, which they have shown with open doors throughout the pandemic, and this should be recognised through prioritising them in any vaccination programme,” Mr Barclay added.

COVID-19 vaccination programme

More information on the COVID-19 vaccination programme and its implications for community pharmacy will be “released as soon as it is available”, PSNC said.

The expectation is that GPs and pharmacies will “need to work together” as the rollout of the programme is likely to be coordinated by the local NHS, according to PSNC.

Commenting on the news that it is understood pharmacy teams will be vaccinated against COVID-19 at an early stage of the rollout of the vaccination programme, Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies CEO Leyla Hannbeck told C+D yesterday (Wednesday 11) that “this is really good news”.

“Our member pharmacy teams have bravely manned the front line in their communities throughout this pandemic and this will make them feel recognised, valued and cared for,” she added.

Priority groups for COVID-19 vaccine

Interim advice by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), issued on September 25, indicated that frontline health and social care workers face a higher risk of contracting the virus “and of transmitting that infection to susceptible and vulnerable patients in health and social care settings”.

Vaccinating healthcare staff will also help “maintain resilience in the NHS”, the committee said.

Having noticed that COVID-19 “infection rates are higher in residential care home staff”, the JCVI suggested vaccinating this category of people first, alongside elderly residents in a care home.

Anyone aged 80 or over and health and social care workers are the second priority group for COVID-19 vaccinations, according to the interim advice.

However, the JCVI noted that “the final decision on the prioritisation for health and social care workers will be dependent on vaccine characteristics and the epidemiology at the start of any programme”.

Pfizer/BioNTech announced earlier this week (November 9) that an interim efficacy analysis of their mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine showed that it is 90% effective in preventing the virus in participants who had not previously contracted it.

The number of people who have sadly passed away due to COVID-19 in the UK surpassed 50,000. Community pharmacists have kept their door opens since the beginning of the pandemic, which took the lives of some hardworking professionals.

Asymptomatic community pharmacy teams in England are expected to receive a rapid COVID-19 antigen test kit – which can show results in under an hour – over the coming weeks.

What do you make of the PSNC's statement?

Cymraeg Locum, Locum pharmacist

As long as the vaccine passes the required efficacy and safety standards and is endorsed by the relevant body (assume MHRA will still be applicable depending on Brexit) I’ll be having mine ASAP.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

How can you be sure of the long-term safety though? There's a LOT of medicines which have sailed through safety trials initially then have been withdrawn from the market when their long term effects show themselves. I'm perfectly happy to take my chances with a disease which will almost certainly be mild, I know the risks and can mitigate against them as opposed to the great leap of faith into the unknown.

Caroline ACT, Accuracy checking technician

Totally agree with you. I do not understand why anyone in their right mind would have this vaccine when there has been no longterm trials and the recovery rate is so high. Doesn't make sense apart from big pharma getting seriously even more richer!!

Clare Tooley , Locum pharmacist

hopefully locums are included !

Caroline ACT, Accuracy checking technician

Sorry but not having something that has literally taken 5 minutes to throw together compared to other vaccines without knowing any possible longterm side effects!

Hadi Al-Bayati, Locum pharmacist

I was listening to a professor of epidemiology on the radio who said that the reason that vaccines usually take so long is the difficulty in recruiting volunteers but this vaccine testing program has not had that problem hence the shorter time scale. But as we all know there is no substitute for time. I won't be having it as I'm under 40 but if I was over 65 I would have it.


PS why all the snotty comments because someone has concerns about the short length of time taken? Medicine recalls and market withdrawals do happen

Edward H Rowan, Locum pharmacist

Doubt if they've actually thrown it together, Miss Trump.

Caroline ACT, Accuracy checking technician

So you are happy to have a vaccine that has no real longterm testing which other vaccines do and the pharmaceutical companies are exempt from prosecution if people are seriously affected or die because of it. This disease has a survival rate of 99.7%, why do we need a vaccine?
And please grow up! calling people names because you have a different opinion is very childish

Cymraeg Locum, Locum pharmacist

Caroline, you are entitled to your own opinion about the vaccine but you are basing it on an incorrect assumption. The vaccine has not “literally taken 5 minutes to throw together”.


There is a scientific process based on research and evidence through which the vaccine is being developed. Much of this science is adapted from other vaccines that have been in use for a long time. It will only be granted a license when the required efficacy and safety criteria is met.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

You're quite correct - it has taken about six months to 'throw together'. I am totally with Caroline - I'd rather take my chances with a disease that frankly isn't that dangerous to my demographic than having who knows what inserted into my body with no idea as to the long term effects. I do NOT want to be a guinea pig, thanks.

The science is also not adapted from other vaccines - it's wholly new tech which cannot be considered safe so quickly. I'm not holding my breath for the availability of this vaccine for quite some time yet - I think it may be a case of saying what people want to hear.

Caroline ACT, Accuracy checking technician

Be as it may but its still not had the longterm testing which other vaccines have and why are these companies not being held liable if and when people become sick or die from it, because of the lack of longterm testing?

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