Saturday 5 December 2020 10:24 AM UTC
LONDON Dec 5: GP surgeries have been told to be ready to start staffing coronavirus vaccine centres by mid-December. Sites must be prepared to administer nearly 1,000 doses of the vaccine to priority patients within three-and-a-half days of the jabs being delivered on December 14.
The NHS’s medical director for primary care Dr Nikita Kanani said the vaccination programme will be ‘one of the greatest challenges the NHS has ever faced’ in a letter sent to surgeries. Speed is crucial in the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab which is usually stored at -70C. It remains stable at fridge temperature – between 2C and 8C – for a short amount of time.
There are 975 doses in each of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine packs, which poses a logistical problem of how they can be broken up and distributed to other key sites such as care homes. The first to receive the jab at the vaccination centres will be people aged 80 and above, as long as their risk factors ‘clinical or otherwise’ have been taken into account.
NHS England and NHS Improvement said the number of vaccination sites in each clinical commissioning group (CCG) area will vary according to the number of residents who are over 80. CCGs have been asked to consider inequalities and deprivation – some of the biggest virus risk factors – when choosing the sites.
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