NHS England (NHSE) expects Covid-19 vaccines to become available for private purchase ‘in due course’, according to its newly published vaccine strategy.

The document also revealed that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has ‘begun to facilitate conversations between manufacturers and providers to support this process’.

NHSE said the procurement and supply of Covid-19 vaccines would remain centralised, but private purchase availability could follow, ‘subject to manufacturer and provider decision’.

Earlier this year, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) confirmed that it had not placed any restriction on the private sale of Covid vaccinations, meaning manufacturers were free to agree deals with pharmacies to supply them.

The NHSE vaccination strategy, published last week, noted that the private sale of Covid vaccines would be in line with other vaccines approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) that are currently sold privately, including those for flu, and ‘would not influence the scope or supply of the NHS programme’.

In August, pharmacy multiple Superdrug predicted an increase in interest in private flu vaccinations following its launch of what it claimed to be the cheapest available on the high street in the UK.

Meanwhile, the new vaccination strategy, published last week, also revealed that NHSE plans to give community pharmacies an increased role in delivering seasonal vaccinations, and it will join with the government in undertaking a ‘cost-benefit analysis’ to examine the case for central procurement of adult flu vaccines.