GPs to vaccinate 224,000 care home patients by end of January

GP-led COVID-19 vaccination sites have been told to administer jabs to 224,000 patients at more than 10,000 care homes by the end of January.

COVID-19 vaccine (Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
COVID-19 vaccine (Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Slides shared with primary care staff during an NHS England webinar on 5 January, seen by GPonline, show that there are 248,581 patients in care homes for older people in line for vaccination against coronavirus.

GP-led teams have vaccinated 24,183 patients at 767 care homes to date - and a further 210 care home residents have been vaccinated in other ways, suggesting they either attended local vaccination sites or hospital hubs. A total of 53,285 care home staff have also been vaccinated either by roving teams or at vaccination sites.

However, 224,398 patients at 10,130 care homes are yet to be vaccinated - revealing the scale of the task remaining for general practice this month.

COVID-19 vaccine

The drive to complete first-dose vaccinations in care homes by the end of January comes as part of plans set out by the government to deliver 13.9m doses of vaccine to patients by mid-February across the UK.

This would cover the first four cohorts prioritised by the JCVI - patients and staff in care homes for older people; patients aged over 80 and health and care staff; patients over 75; and patients aged over 70 or considered clinically extremely vulnerable.

PCNs have been told to focus on the first two cohorts only at this stage, although NHS England has said that 'where necessary and to minimise vaccine wastage, those between 75-79 years old can be offered vaccination'.

NHS England figures show that 784 GP-led vaccination sites are operational as of 5 January, with further sites set to go live in the coming weeks.

Care home vaccination

These sites will begin to receive deliveries of the recently approved Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine on Thursday and Friday this week and have been told to ‘make care homes a priority with both Pfizer and Astra Zeneca vaccines this week’.

Slides shared in the webinar make clear that there will be ‘sufficient dose in the system by end of this week to meet all care home residents in priority cohort’.

GPonline reported earlier this week that there could be as many as 500,000 doses of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine available this week and a similar number of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The government set out plans to complete vaccination of care home residents by the end of January earlier this month. PCNs will receive an extra £10 per vaccine dose delivered in care homes, on top of the item of service fee, until the end of January.

PCNs that complete vaccination of care home residents in their area have been told to offer support and use of remaining vaccine stocks to neighbouring areas that have not completed care home vaccination - potentially under a subcontracting arrangement.

GPs have also been told they should continue to provide vaccination at care homes where cases of COVID-19 have been identified.

NHS England has published guidance on how to plan vaccination in this scenario, calling for a risk assessment to be completed by the PCN with the care home manager, potentially with support from the local director of public health.

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