Pharmacy sites that have the capacity to administer as few as 100 Covid vaccines per week will be considered by NHS England to deliver the Covid booster vaccine in the autumn.
In a letter sent to contractors — which outlined the enhanced service specification for the booster vaccination programme — NHS England called for those sites that can administer 100, 350 and 1,000 to submit expressions of interest.
NHS England initially required sites to be able to deliver at least 1,000 jabs per week, however, during phase two of the rollout this requirement was lowered to 400 vaccines per week.
The letter said that community pharmacy contractors already delivering the Covid-19 vaccination service for phases one and two will also be required to express an interest for the booster programme — otherwise known as phase three.
Interested sites have been asked to submit expressions of interest by 5pm on 28 July 2021. This comes as 1,000 more community pharmacies sites are due to be signed up to deliver the Covid booster vaccine, in recognition of the sector’s contribution to phases one and two.
In a previous letter sent to the sector last week, NHS England said that community pharmacies will be expected to deliver 3.5 million vaccines per week over the booster period.
The autumn booster programme is provisionally due to begin on 6 September, with phases one and two due to end on the 31 October to ensure pharmacies have time to offer the first two doses of the vaccine to ‘all adults in England’.
NHS England also confirmed that a payment of £12.58 will be made to community pharmacy providers for each vaccine administered.
An additional £10 will be paid per jab delivered to care home residents, staff and housebound patients, as well as homeless people living in a hostel or hotel ‘where it would not be possible for these patients to attend vaccination sites’, it said.
NHS England did not confirm which cohorts would be eligible for the autumn booster programme, however, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised the Government to jab all those over 50.