The Government is considering including pharmacy technicians on the list of healthcare professionals able to administer Covid-19 vaccinations under a patient group direction (PGD).
Responding to a tweet calling for legislative change to allow pharmacy technicians to provide Covid booster vaccines, MP Maria Caulfield, the pharmacy minister, confirmed the Government was currently ‘looking into this’.
The list of healthcare professionals who can currently supply and administer vaccines under a PGD includes pharmacists, but not pharmacy technicians.
For the first time this year, trained pharmacy staff, including technicians, could take part in phases of the flu vaccination service. However, they could not complete an entire consultation.
Similarly, pharmacy technicians in England have been able to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine since January, however, not under a PGD.
Malcolm Harrison, CEO of the Company Chemists Association, said that ‘small technical legal change’ could not only help bolster the Covid booster programme, but also ‘enhance’ the attractiveness of the technician role.
‘We also support wider efforts to evolve the role of the pharmacy technicians, enabling them to take on additional roles which would enable pharmacists to deliver further clinical services.’
This comes as the Government ramps up the Covid booster programme in light of the recent outbreak of the new Covid variant Omicron in the UK.
This week, eligibility for Covid boosters has been expanded to all over-18s and all 12-17 year-olds have been encouraged to get their second dose.
Liz Fidler, president of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK, welcomed the possibility of pharmacy technicians being able to administer vaccinations, and said ‘community pharmacy technicians are ready and should be enabled to do more’.
She added: ‘Community Pharmacy Technicians have been integral to delivering core pharmacy services during the most challenging of times. Working with pharmacists and pharmacy teams they have been able to use their skills and knowledge as another registered pharmacy professional but could be enabled to do more.
‘This much needed legislation change will enable the profession to deliver more patient focussed services and enable the pharmacy workforce to continue to provide the response so greatly needed at this time.
‘This will also provide recognition and a much-needed career pathway in a sector that can provide the very best care for patients and communities.’