Below is a summary of COVID-19 vaccination programme updates provided by the BMA this week.
Temporary suspension of 15 minute wait
A temporary suspension of the 15 minute wait for the mRNA vaccine has now been announced to allow for an increased amount of vaccinations to be carried out following successful lobbying by the BMA
To support acceleration of the booster programme, the CQC are postponing all on-site inspection activity for the next three weeks with immediate effect - except in cases where there is evidence of risk to life, or the immediate risk of serious harm to people.
Item of Service fee for vaccinations.
In light of the further vaccination effort required in response to the Omicron variant, NHSE/I has extended the Item of Service (IoS) fee to £20 per COVID-19 vaccination administered between 25 December 2021 to 3 January 2022 inclusive. This is to support vaccination sites to set up additional clinics during this period. The IoS fee will continue to be £20 per COVID-19 vaccination administered on Sundays in December 2021 and Sundays in January 2022 as previously announced. The ES and LES will shortly be updated to reflect this.
COVID-19 vaccination protocols and patient group directions
Updated national protocols and patient group directions and for the Comirnaty (Pfizer/Biotech) and Spikevax COVID-19 (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines have now been published, and are available here
Second phase for children and young people aged 12 to 15
Following the JCVI advice that all children and young people aged 12 to 15 years should be offered a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a minimum of 12 weeks, NHSE/I has published guidance on the second phase, setting out a hybrid model of delivery which includes bothan in-school and out-of-school offer.
Vaccination as a condition for deployment in the healthcare sector.
Last week, the Government published the outcome of their consultation on making vaccination a condition of deployment in the health and wider social care sector, advising that from 1 April 2022, only to deploy healthcare workers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to roles where they interact with patients and service users, to avoid preventable harm and protect patients in the NHS, protect colleagues in the NHS, and protect the NHS itself. Read the NHSE/I guidance
While the BMA has serious concerns about making vaccination mandatory, we’re pleased that the Government has, as we recommended, decided to delay the policy of mandatory vaccination for COVID-19 until spring next year. Read the full statement by the chair of BMA Council.
Exemptions from self-isolation of fully vaccinated staff members identified as a contact of a case
The UK Health Security agency has updated their guidance on COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings.
Fully vaccinated GPs and practice staff no longer need to isolate for 10 days if they are a close contact of an Omicron Covid case.
The requirement has been replaced with a negative PCR and then daily LFT antigen tests for ten days, with isolation only on testing positive or developing symptoms, for those who are fully vaccinated.