The Government is consulting on the potential for community pharmacies to permanently run vaccination services from premises other than their registered premises.
The three-week consultation, launched today (9 December), includes several proposals that would make permanent some temporary measures that were put in place at the height of the pandemic to maintain the pace and scale of the vaccine rollout.
One approach would allow pharmacies that are providing an immunisation or vaccination service for Covid-19 or flu under PGD, to permanently provide that service away from their normal registered premises.
The temporary measure — which has allowed pharmacies to provide Covid vaccinations in off-site locations such as in car parks, sports stadiums, town halls and marquees — was put in place by NHS England and Improvement in August 2020, and is due to end on 1 April 2022.
This flexibility was also used in the 2020-2021 seasonal influenza programme to support government plans to increase the number of flu vaccines given.
‘This flexibility was used regularly by the majority of community pharmacy run Covid-19 vaccination sites, where the main site was located away from their normal registered premises,’ the consultation document said.
Commenting on the proposals, vaccines Minister Maggie Throup said: ‘Over the past year, these temporary measures have helped enable the NHS to deliver over 120 million vaccines across this country.
‘By bedding in this suite of options we can continue to make it quicker and easier for people to safely access Covid-19 and flu vaccines to protect themselves and the people around them.’
The proposal comes just days after Pfizer’s chief executive said it is likely that repeat doses of the Covid booster vaccine will be necessary to maintain a high level of protection among populations.
This month, the Government announced it had secured more than 100 million additional doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which could be used in future booster programmes.
Other proposals listed in the consultation document include: increasing the available vaccinator workforce, and allowing vaccines to be moved between certain premises without the need for wholesale dealer licenses.
It is also consulting on enabling final preparation and labelling to take place without additional marketing authorisations or manufacturer’s licences.