NHS England has increased the standard payment for Covid vaccines to £15 per vaccination, in an effort to incentivise pharmacies and GP practices to offer all boosters by January.
Standard Covid vaccines will now be £15 until January, with an additional £5 payment for Sunday vaccinations, ‘when many community pharmacies are not usually open’.
There will also be a £30 premium payment for vaccinations to housebound patients.
During a briefing, Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, said: ‘It is our intention to ensure everyone eligible for a booster is given the chance to book one before the end of January.
‘To make this happen we will need to expand vaccination capacity right across the NHS, hundreds of hospitals are already jabbing their own staff, we are now asking them to vaccinate other local NHS workers, other eligible patients and social care staff as well. Around 30 hospitals are already offering jabs to the public through the national booking service and dozens more will be coming online from early next week.
‘Our hard-working GPs, community pharmacists and their primary care colleagues have delivered the lions share of the vaccinations so far, we’re looking at how we can help them to do even more jabs by cutting other burdens on them to free up clinicians time.
‘We will ensure that they are properly rewarded for their efforts, particularly when they take time to visit vulnerable housebound patients who can’t travel to vaccination sites.’
Alongside the increased payment, she added that the 15-minute wait time post-vaccination would also be reviewed and potentially scrapped in order to allow smaller size centres – such as community pharmacies – to be able to vaccinate more people.
Around 1,500 community pharmacy sites will be involved in administering the vaccinations, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Hospitals have also been asked to deliver jabs to NHS staff and patients, and mobile vaccination units will also be deployed in order to meet the January deadline.
Additional staff will also be recruited to deliver the programme, with 400 military personnel working with the ‘jabs army of volunteers’.
In response to the news, a spokesperson for the Company Chemists' Association said: 'We welcome the Government’s plans to expand the Covid booster vaccination programme, including within community pharmacies.
'We are very proud of the role that CCA members and the wider sector have played in administering 15 million Covid vaccines in over 1,500 pharmacy sites so far, demonstrating a tremendous ‘can-do’ attitude from pharmacy teams. Our member pharmacies stand ready to continue to support the NHS to ensure people within local communities can access the protection they need.'
It comes after the eligibility for Covid boosters was expanded to all over-18s yesterday.