An update sent to practices on 16 February said 1,100 GPs had returned to the GMC register as part of an emergency appeal for non-active clinicians to support their local vaccination services.
Colleagues returning to help out with vaccinations were thanked for their support, with NHS England saying it was ‘keen to encourage their utilisation’ at primary care network (PCN) vaccination sites across the country.
NHS leaders have also confirmed that PCNs can claim a supplement of £10 for each vaccination administered to eligible residents and staff in residential settings, on top of the £12.58 basic fee per dose - in line with top-ups paid for housebound patients.
Bank holiday schedule
It was also confirmed that primary care services would not have to open during the Easter bank holidays (2 and 5 April) - although NHS England has said it will ‘keep this position under review’.
Local vaccination services will, however, remain open - providing a seven-day service ‘where necessary', according to NHS England. NHS England said further communications around this would follow.
GP surgeries were asked to remain open during the Easter bank holidays last year (10 and 13 April 2020) in response to the initial coronavirus outbreak, while requirements varied by area during the May holidays last year.
Last week practices were informed that they would start vaccinating patients in 'cohort 6' - those aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions - from 15 February, including people in care homes with learning disabilities and homeless patients.
In a letter NHS England leader said: ‘In the coming weeks PCN groupings, when requested by NHS England, will need to deliver vaccinations in residential settings, such as care homes for people with learning disabilities or mental health problems, or hostel/hotel accommodation for the homeless, where it would not be possible for these patients to attend vaccination sites.
COVID-19 vaccine delivery
'PCN groupings should work with CCG, ICS, local authority and other partners to establish the most effective ways to serve all of these residential settings and specific groups and determine the most appropriate vaccination delivery model for them.’
Meanwhile, more than 800,000 extra patients will be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination after a major expansion of the shielding list based on data from a risk assessment tool.
These patients have been identified through a population risk assessment by NHS Digital, based on a risk prediction tool called 'QCovid', developed by the University of Oxford and thought to be the world's only reliable COVID-19 risk prediction model.