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Government risks losing out on pharmacy vaccinators if no indemnity provided, says RPS

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By Isabel Shaw

27 Jul 2021

The Government has created an ‘unnecessary’ and ‘avoidable barrier’ to recruiting more pharmacy vaccinators by removing state-backed indemnity for community pharmacists delivering Covid-19 jabs in England, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said. 

In an email sent to the vaccine minister, Nadhim Zahawi, last week (22 June), the chair of the English Pharmacy Board, Thorrun Govind, urged the Government to continue state-backed indemnity in order to ‘treat pharmacists fairly’ and to ‘maximise their role in delivering Covid-19 vaccinations.’.  

Ms Govind said she was ‘surprised’ and ‘concerned’ to learn of the Government’s recent decision, while GPs will continue to be covered by the scheme during the autumn booster rollout.  

She also went on to explain that ‘expecting community pharmacists to now start paying for their own indemnity insurance is an extraordinary position,’ and that it will create an ‘unnecessary and avoidable barrier to boosting the number of vaccinators and is inequitable with other health professions.’.  

This comes as the Government called on more of the sector to apply to be vaccine sites, ahead of the Ccovid booster programme in the autumn.  

At least 1,000 more pharmacies are required by the NHS England to deliver phase three of the Covid vaccine programme, as pharmacies will be expected to deliver 3.5 million vaccines per week while other vaccine staff working at vaccine centres return to usual roles.  

She compared the situation to the Government’s decision back in April last year, to initially leave community pharmacists out of the death in service benefits.  

‘It is incredibly disappointing to be revisiting this kind of issue now,’ she added. 

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