During a webinar on Thursday 26 November, primary care medical director Dr Nikki Kanani said that she was 'working to make sure that primary care is part of the healthcare workforce who is immunised really quickly once the vaccine becomes available'.
Decisions about prioritisation during the COVID-19 vaccine programme rests with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). It has published interim advice on priority groups, but said final advice on prioritisation will depend on vaccine approval.
Under the interim advice older adults in care home and care home workers are in the first group to be vaccinated, followed by those aged over 80 and health and social care workers in the second group.
Priority groups for vaccination
Last week, Scotland confirmed that healthcare workers, including those in primary care, would be in the first group to receive the vaccine, alongside care home residents and staff, those aged over 80, unpaid carers and personal assistants, and those who will be delivering the vaccination programme.
Final details of the enhanced service for the COVID-19 vaccination programme are expected to be published imminently, along with further details about how the campaign will be delivered in primary care.
During the webinar NHS England revealed that a single 'host' practice will receive all COVID-19 enhanced service payments for vaccinating patients in each local area - with practices to agree how these funds will be distributed
Practices have been told that they will receive at least 10 days' notice of any vaccine deliveries, to give them time to 'stand up' their designated vaccination site.
During the webinar Dr Kanani also confirmed that NHS England was working on a communication drive to help ensure that 'people feel comfortable to engage with the programme'. She added that GP practices would play an important role in encouraging uptake of the vaccine.
She said: 'I think this is a really important conversation for us in general practice and a really important reason why general practice designated sites are so important. As we know, our general practice teams are diverse by profession, by background and can really make sure that we engage with the community in the way that we need to.'
She added that NHS England will also be launching a drive for people to join the vaccination team, which would include NHS and 'professionals from other backgrounds who might want to come in and help out.' These volunteers will be available for primary care to make use of in vaccination sites.