GP vaccination centres will be paid an enhanced fee of £20 per Covid jab between 25 December and 3 January, in a bid to support them to ‘set up additional clinics’.
NHS England said this comes ‘in light of the further vaccination effort required in response to the Omicron variant’.
GPs were already being paid an enhanced fee of £15 per jab Monday to Saturday, and £20 on Sundays and bank holidays during the booster drive.
The news comes as the Government last weekend brought back the target date for offering all over-18s a Covid booster jab from 31 January to 31 December.
GPs were asked to prioritise the Covid vaccination campaign over routine care until the New Year, and NHS England had said GPs would be ‘compensated appropriately’ to work over the holidays.
In a GP bulletin this afternoon, NHS England said commissioners are encouraged to ‘continue work to use the Winter Access Fund (WAF) to support the ongoing access to general practice for those who need it’ during the booster drive.
This can include ‘to fund contingency cover for bank holiday weekends over and above what has been previously planned’.
But it reiterated that winter access money ‘cannot be used to fund vaccination capacity given alternative arrangements to support that’.
The UK is currently facing a fresh wave of Covid infections, with the new Omicron variant showing signs of spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant.
It comes as the Prime Minister has written to GPs and other NHS staff saying the Government and nation are ‘right behind them’ through the booster campaign.
NHS England vaccination fee note in full
NHS England’s bulletin said: ‘In our 7 December operational note, we announced an increase to the Item of Service (IoS) fee to £15 per COVID-19 vaccination (administered on weekdays and Saturdays from 1 December 2021 to 31 January 2022), and an increase to £20 per COVID-19 vaccination (administered on a Sunday or Bank Holidays) over the same period.
In light of the further vaccination effort required in response to the Omicron variant, we are now extending the IoS fee to £20 per COVID-19 vaccination administered between 25 December 2021 to 3 January 2022 inclusive. This is to support PCN and CP sites to set up additional clinics during this period.
The IoS fee will continue to be £20 per COVID-19 vaccination administered on Sundays in December 2021 and Sundays in January 2022 as previously announced. The ES and LES will shortly be updated to reflect this.’
This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.