Practices and vaccination centres should prepare to deliver Covid-19 booster shots between 6 September and 17 December 2021, NHS England has announced.
While this will remain flexible based on ‘several clinical trials over the course of the summer’, vaccination sites should aim to vaccinate people ‘as quickly and safely as possible’ in two stages over the 15-week period, it said.
NHSE also confirmed that the third booster shot should be offered to all adults aged 50 years and over, adults over 16 who are in an influenza or Covid-19 at-risk group, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed people.
Meanwhile, GP practices are expected to deliver a maximum of 75% of Covid booster vaccines.
Commissioners have been asked to ‘prudently plan’ for the programme, with a ‘minimum’ of 40% of jabs to be delivered by GP-led sites, it said.
And local systems have been told to plan to co-administer flu and Covid vaccines in a single appointment by ‘pooling’ GP practice flu stock, it added.
The letter follows the JCVI’s advice yesterday that the Covid booster programme should start in September and will take place in two stages.
It is ‘actively encouraging’ co-administration of the Covid and flu vaccines, including in general practice-led centres.
‘Although general practice delivered the majority of vaccines in phase one, spreading capacity across all delivery models will provide resilience and ease pressure on other services and workforces.
‘For most areas it may be hard for general practice to deliver more than around 75% of vaccinations, based on learnings from phase one.’
It added: ‘In the majority of cases, local systems should therefore prudently plan for a minimum of 40% of Covid-19 booster vaccination through general practice and a maximum of 75%, drawing on the expertise of local authorities and subject to any agreement with local PCNs.’
An additional 1,000 community pharmacy sites will be onboarded ‘in the run-up to September to support phase three delivery’, it said.
More to follow