PCNs paid £70m for first-wave COVID-19 jab campaign as NHS plots next phase of rollout

Primary care network (PCN) COVID-19 vaccination sites have been paid £70m this month for the jabs they delivered in the first wave of the campaign in December and January, NHS England has revealed.

Staff at the Falmouth Health Centre in Cornwall began delivering vaccines in December (Photo: Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)
Staff at the Falmouth Health Centre in Cornwall began delivering vaccines in December (Photo: Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)

The figure was highlighted in slides from a primary care webinar that took place on Thursday 24 February, which also revealed that there had been some problems with payments to PCNs for immunisations undertaken in January.

Vaccination sites have been asked to resubmit all data for January as part of this month's declaration, which takes place between 3 and 8 March. NHS England's slides said it hoped this would 'resolve the majority of discrepancies'.

Meanwhile, second dose rollout will begin from Monday 1 March, the webinar was told, with clinics expected to take place between 77 and 84 days after first jabs were administered.

GPonline understands all of the GP-led sites that vaccinated patients in December should have received details of their second dose deliveries, which are expected to arrive during the first three weeks in March.

Second dose vaccinations

GP-led sites are currently focused on immunising those in cohort 6 of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority list, which are patients with underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk from COVID-19.

Webinar attendees told GPonline that NHS England officials said any leftover jabs from their site's second-dose deliveries, for example if they are able to get additional doses from vials or patients have moved away or failed to attend, should be used for first vaccinations for cohort 6 patients.

NHS England has also encouraged GPs to actively revisit those from cohorts 1-4 who have not taken up the offer of a vaccine to ensure they know they are still entitled to have the jab if they choose to do so. On Thursday NHS leaders announced a £4.2m fund to help support CCGs and PCNs to tackle low uptake in ethnic minority, marginalised or deprived communities.

Future of vaccination programme

Meanwhile, GPonline understands that discussions are underway between the BMA's GP committee and NHS England about what happens when the vaccination programme reaches the end of the JCVI phase one priority list of nine groups, which covers all over-50s and those with underlying health conditions. The current vaccination programme enhanced service only applies to these patients and does not cover individuals who fall outside of the list.

The government is currently aiming to complete vaccinations in the first nine JCVI priority groups by 15 April – a target it originally intended to hit by the end of April.

NHS England's webinar's slides also outlined plans for a new stock management system that is due to be introduced from the start of March, and which could make planning easier for GPs and PCNs.

The system will require PCN sites to record vaccination wastage for the preceding seven days and stock levels every Monday morning. Slides from the NHS say: 'It is in the interest of everyone providing vaccination services that we have this information in order to ensure that we can continue to make appropriate allocations of vaccine to your site'.

The new system will provide GPs with information on upcoming deliveries 'in a user-friendly format' via the Foundry platform, NHS England said.

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