Patient group direction for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine published

A patient group direction (PGD) for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been published, ahead of the start of the vaccination programme's roll out in primary care today (14 December).

 (Photo: Andy Stenning/Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo: Andy Stenning/Pool/Getty Images)

Guidance published earlier this month had suggested that a PGD may not be in place for the start of the programme, raising the prospect that GPs would need to assess each individual patient and authorise for vaccines to be administered under a patient specific direction.

There was concern that this would have had a huge knock-on effect on the general practice workforce as more GPs would need to be available at vaccination sites.

The PGD, published by NHS England and Public Health England on Saturday, provides a legal framework to allow non-prescribers to administer the vaccine. It applies to a defined group of patients, in this case the priority groups identified for the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) who should be first in line to be vaccinated.

Only registered healthcare professionals are covered by the PGD and NHS England highlighted that PCN sites cannot delegate vaccine administration to unregistered staff. Under the PGD, all vaccinators must have completed the COVID-19 vaccination e-learning programme or locally provided training.

Vaccination programme

The PGD applies from Monday 14 December, when the first vaccines are due to be delivered by GP-led vaccination sites. It runs until 30 November 2021 and will be reviewed at the start of June next year.

Some sites are expected to begin vaccinating patients later on today, with others starting tomorrow and more joining the programme on Wednesday. Some 280 primary care sites were expected to begin vaccinating patients in the first wave of the programme's roll out in primary care this week.

NHS England said that organisations should 'ensure that staff are familiar with the contents of the PGD and that staff have signed the declaration included prior to starting vaccinating'.

The PGD confirms that patients with a history of immediate-onset anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine or food should not be given the vaccine and all vaccine recipients need to be monitored for 15 minutes after vaccination, in line with updated MHRA advice published last week.

The guidance forced GPs into last-minute changes to their vaccination plans, with some sites warning that they may need to pull out of the programme due to a lack of space.

COVID-19 vaccine

The PGD says that patients who have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the previous four weeks should also not receive the vaccine. In these cases patients should postpone the vaccine until they are well and at least four weeks from the onset of symptoms or a positive test result if they were asymptomatic.

Although those under 16 have not been recommended to have the vaccine, the PGD says that any children at 'very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities that require residential care should be referred to specialists for consideration for vaccination, under a patient specific direction'.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Starting your career as a newly-qualified GP

Starting your career as a newly-qualified GP

Dr Patrice Baptiste describes how she developed a portfolio career as a newly-qualified...

Limited COVID-19 vaccine supply hampers GP efforts to ramp up rollout

Limited COVID-19 vaccine supply hampers GP efforts to ramp up rollout

Limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccine have forced GP-led vaccination sites to operate...

Increase cancer tests in primary care during pandemic, suggests NHS England

Increase cancer tests in primary care during pandemic, suggests NHS England

Local health systems should look to provide more cancer diagnostics in primary care...

Daily COVID-19 vaccinations drop below level required to hit February target

Daily COVID-19 vaccinations drop below level required to hit February target

Numbers of COVID-19 vaccinations administered per day have dipped below the number...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

GPs raise alarm over low uptake of COVID-19 vaccine in BAME patients

GPs raise alarm over low uptake of COVID-19 vaccine in BAME patients

GPs across England have raised concerns over low uptake of COVID-19 vaccination among...