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Pandemic vaccination regulations extended to 2026

by Anna Colivicchi
2 November 2023

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Vaccination regulations adopted due to the Covid pandemic will be extended until 2026 following a Government consultation.

Ministers will extend the regulations until 1 April 2026 to support the supply, distribution and administration of Covid and flu vaccines as the country transitions out of the pandemic.

Among other things, the regulations make it easier to move vaccine stock between premises and enables a wider range of healthcare professionals to administer jabs (see box below).

The Government said that several consultation responses highlighted how these regulations have improved the delivery of Covid and flu vaccinations ‘in a safe and effective way’, allowing vaccines to be deployed ‘at speed and scale, whilst maintaining patient safety’.

The consultation which was launched in August received 220 responses, with ‘significant support’ expressed (over 80%) for each proposal.

Responders said that the use of an extended workforce has ‘increased flexibility’, reducing staff pressures and ‘providing greater opportunities’ for career development.

Given the ‘high level of support’ expressed in the responses, the Government is proceeding with the proposed amendments to these regulations.

In its response to the consultation, the Government said: ‘The majority of responses received were supportive of the proposals outlined in this consultation.

‘We received a large number of positive comments around how the regulations have helped to improve the delivery of COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations.

‘We also received views relating to the future of these provisions. Many respondents agreed that the proposed amendments should be time limited until 1 April 2026, with further work required to develop options for longer-term solutions.’

The Government said that across all questions, ’a small proportion of respondents’ disagreed with the proposals because of their concerns around vaccine harms or ineffectiveness.

It added: ‘As with all responses, these were considered and are represented below in the summary statistics for each of the quantitative questions in this consultation.

‘In response to the comments received, we want to emphasise that the safety of all vaccinations deployed in the UK remains of the upmost importance to the government.’

It comes as a new strategy that will shape the future of vaccination delivery is expected to be published by the end of the year.

A version of this article was first published on our sister title Pulse

The pandemic vaccine regulations have:

  • enabled trained healthcare professionals to conduct the final stage of assembly, preparation, and labelling of Covid vaccines without additional marketing authorisations or manufacturer’s licences being required
  • allowed Covid and flu vaccines to be moved between premises at the end of the supply chain, by providers operating under NHS arrangements and the medical services of His Majesty’s Forces, that do not hold wholesale dealer licences
  • enabled the use of an extended workforce who are legally and safely able to administer a Covid or flu vaccine without the input of a prescriber, using an approved protocol.