The autumn covid booster campaign starts in care homes in England today with GPs being incentivised to complete delivery of jabs there in a matter of weeks.
GPs are to receive payments of up to £525 per completed care home and have been asked to complete care home vaccinations by 23 October where possible.
NHS England says around 1.6 million care home residents and staff and housebound people will be eligible for the autumn dose from today. It describes the campaign as ‘the fastest and largest vaccine drive in NHS history.’
From Wednesday the programme will be widened out. Around seven million people will be able to book their booster online or by calling 119. This group includes people aged 75 and over, people who are immunosuppressed and health and care workers.
Millions of invitations will also start to arrive from Wednesday inviting people directly to book their appointment for the following week.
A record 3,100 sites are expected to be part of the rollout, including GP practices and community pharmacies.
More than 700 care homes in England will be visited by vaccinating teams this week alone. Thousands more are scheduled before the end of the month as residents and staff receive the new variant-tackling jab.
Last week, NHS England announced in its GP webinar that it would be ‘incentivising accelerated Covid-19 vaccinations’ in both older adult and non-older adult care homes.
A slide presented at the webinar said: ‘An outcomes-based incentive will be made available to any commissioned provider who completes the vaccination of all residents in a care home by 23 October 2022 as part of the Covid autumn vaccination programme.’
It added that ‘completed’ care homes are those where ‘the maximum number of eligible residents have been vaccinated’ and that the incentive will be ‘payable for each individual care home completed’ by the deadline.
GP-led vaccination teams will receive:
- £150 for each ‘small care home’ of 1-10 residents
- £275 for each ‘medium care home’ of 11-49 residents
- £400 for each ‘large care home’ of 50-149 residents
- £525 for each ‘very large care home of 150-250 residents.
To claim the payment, a practice needs to complete a ‘short live-time survey return’ said NHS England.
It added that the enhanced service specification will be updated ‘shortly’ to incorporate the new care homes payments scheme.
However, the slide said: ‘The existing provision will remain that providers should make arrangements to vaccinate care home residents within 10 weeks of the start of the programme (from 12 September), or as soon as reasonably possible.’
It also said that St John Ambulance volunteers are available to support care home vaccinations and that there is also ‘additional workforce available through the lead employer including registered healthcare professionals, unregistered vaccinators and administrators’.
‘This workforce will be trained and competent in the delivery of Covid-19 and flu vaccination to support co-administration wherever operationally possible,’ it said.
Last month, practices were told to start delivering the autumn Covid booster campaign from today with patients set to receive Moderna’s new Omicron booster jab.
In response, the BMA’s GP committee said the booster campaign could not be delivered ‘on the cheap’.
A version of this article was initially published on our sister title, Pulse