Pharmacies are to be paid less per Covid vaccine during the autumn booster programme compared with previous programmes.

According to the draft service specification, published yesterday (29 June), pharmacies that support the provision of the next booster programme in the autumn will be paid £10.06 for each Covid-19 vaccination they administer – over £2 less than they were paid previously.

During phases 1,2,3 and 4 of the vaccine programme pharmacies were paid £12.58 for each Covid-19 vaccination they administered.

During negotiations, PSNC asked NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&I) to increase the fee or maintain it at the current fee, in light of inflation and the current cost of living crisis.

However, NHSE&I refused because they wanted the Covid vaccine service to be in line with the fees associated with other vaccinations, PSNC said.

Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at PSNC, said the negotiating body was ‘disappointed that NHSE&I have not recognised the increasing costs that contractors are experiencing in providing services when setting the fee for the service’.

He also said the new service fee that NHSE&I has determined may discourage some from seeking to provide the service.

The new fee brings the service in line with the fee agreed in 2020 with general practice for routine vaccinations as part of their contractual framework.

According to the specification, contractors currently commissioned to provide Covid-19 vaccinations and who wish for their designated site to continue to provide Covid-19 vaccinations from September 2022 should express interest by 5pm on 14 July.

Meanwhile, contractors not currently commissioned, but who do wish to participate in phase 5 should express interest by 5pm on 20 July.