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COVID-19: Welsh government confirms pharmacy vax participation

The service specification could be expanded to include other vaccines in the future

The Welsh government has announced a service specification for the administration of COVID-19 in community pharmacies in Wales, setting the remuneration at “£12.58 per vaccine”.

The Primary Care COVID-19 Immunisation Service (PCCIS) enables all primary care providers, including community pharmacies, to participate in the delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations, according to a letter from primary care division deputy director for Wales Alex Slade, sent last month (December 18).

In the letter, Mr Slade described the service specification as “a national contracting mechanism that health boards can now use in order to engage providers to deliver COVID-19 vaccination from within primary care”.

The service will be expanded “to include further vaccines, if suitable for primary care delivery, once they are approved”, he added.

Announcing the launch of the service for Wales today, Community Pharmacy Wales (CPW) director of contractor services Judy Thomas told C+D: “CPW is positive about the vaccination programme and we believe community pharmacists will become involved in significant numbers to play our full part in meeting the major public health challenge of 2021.”

Minister for health and social services Vaughan Gething said in a written statement yesterday (January 4) that widening the COVID-19 vaccine deployment plan to primary care providers will allow “many individuals… to receive their vaccination from a local GP practice or pharmacy”. This “substantially increases our ability to reach those priority groups”, he added.

Service specifications

All primary care providers administering the COVID-19 vaccines will receive the same remuneration, which is “a set payment of £12.58 per vaccine administered” and a total of £25.16 per patient “where both doses are administered by primary care”, according to CPW.

“NHS Wales has also agreed to an additional administration fee of £400 per 1,000 vaccinations,” the negotiator added.

At the beginning of last month (December 9) – prior to the approval of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine for use in the UK – C+D reported that some health boards in Wales were accepting expressions of interest from community pharmacists wanting to take part in delivering the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at mass vaccination centres.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board told C+D at the time that due to the “complex storage and transportation limitations of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine”, it had no plans to commission a COVID-19 vaccination service from its community pharmacies.

Community pharmacy contractors whose premises are selected to deliver the COVID-19 vaccination programme in England and Scotland will be paid the same fees that Welsh contractors will receive as part of the PCCIS service.

Pharmacies chosen to deliver the local enhanced service COVID-19 vaccination programme in England will begin administering the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine “from next week”, according to NHS England and NHS Improvement.

Will your pharmacy offer the COVID-19 vaccination service?

Getting Shorter, Community pharmacist

We may be able to deliver this service in my pharmacy as we usually have 2 pharmacists, but it is clear that due to the multi-dose nature of the O/AZ vials, the service will be 100% on a clinic basis, rather than ad hoc as the flu jabs can be. Clinic times must be given to the LHB 2 weeks in advance, and they will send people to you. I imagine this might make it tricky for the average pharmacy to deliver - it will certainly need some thought and consideration as it's a new model again.

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