‘Paused’ Covid vaccine sites will be expected to resume administering shots within five to 10 days when required, NHS England has said.
New guidance published this month indicated that those paused sites may be asked to ‘stand up at pace (within 5–10 days) when required, with the agreement of the local commissioner’.
NHS England has now warned that after a site reactivation is approved, it could take around five days to manage IT installation and reinstate access to Tech and Data accounts, and about 10 days to get a site back onto the fixed delivery schedule.
It comes after the NHS previously announced that although the Covid vaccination enhanced service has been extended until the end of September, some PCN sites may be paused to prevent ‘unacceptable’ vaccine wastage or where there is insufficient demand.
When looking to reactivate a site, local commissioners and site leads will need to consider:
- Current rate of uptake and the remaining unvaccinated cohorts in relation to capacity
- The location of the site and its readiness (noting access and inequalities)
- Available workforce
- Access to tech and data systems
- If the site can also deliver ‘business as usual’ service provision
- Vaccine allocation and wastage.
Commissioners will be expected to consider PCN representatives’ views on why a site should continue to operate, and will be expected to reach a mutual agreement on whether or not one should be paused.
NHS England regional teams will make the final call if a mutual decision is not possible, it said.
While paused, PCN-led sites will not be allowed to administer vaccines ‘in any circumstances’ until reactivated by the commissioner, and it will stop receiving further supply.
Sites will also receive no additional funding while paused, except in some cases with ‘reasonable additional costs’ such as storage, NHS England said.
NHS England recently announced that around 11,000 people who joined the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme have now gone on to take up a career in the NHS.
In April, it began inviting families with five- and six-year-olds to book their children’s Covid vaccine in line with the most recent JCVI advice.
This story was initially published on our sister title Healthcare Leader.