COVID-19 vaccination programme

Key information for pharmacy professionals and pharmacy owners

We recognise the pharmacy professionals and pharmacies on our register may have an important role in a potential COVID-19 vaccination programme and want to support the vaccination programme wherever possible.

This online guide summarises the key points to note if you want to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme in England and signposts to key resources.

This is a rapidly developing area and we will continue to update this page regularly. 

Last updated 8 January 2021.


Supporting the COVID-19 vaccination programme

Please choose the option below that applies to you:

  1. I want to help deliver COVID-19 vaccinations as an individual pharmacy professional

  2. My pharmacy wants to support the local Primary Care Network to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations

  3. My pharmacy wants to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations ‘at’ or ‘from’ a registered pharmacy

  4. I’m looking for key links and resources about the COVID-19 vaccination programmes     
     


  1. I want to help deliver COVID-19 vaccinations as an individual pharmacy professional

  • You need to meet the standards for pharmacy professionals in whatever setting you are working.
     
  • You will need to undertake relevant training for your role. There will be vaccine-specific training for each vaccine that is approved. Please speak to your employer for more details.
     
  • You need to be aware of and working to all the relevant guidance, regulatory requirements and standard operating procedures for the setting in which vaccinations are being delivered; please speak to your employer for more details.
     
  • You will need to make sure you have appropriate indemnity arrangements in place.
     
  • Please note that the provisional registration scheme does not allow provisionally registered pharmacists to act as the Responsible Pharmacist with responsibility for a COVID-19 vaccination service delivered at or from a registered pharmacy (including in ‘associated premises’) or to be the pharmacist in charge of a vaccination service being provided in ‘associated premises’.
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  • Please visit the NHS Professionals website to find out about opportunities to join the NHS COVID-19 vaccine team in England.
     
  • A number of community pharmacy teams will be providing vaccinations at community pharmacy-led vaccination sites. Pharmacy Contract Managers in NHS England regional teams will be able to direct offers of help locally. Contact details can be found on NHS England's dedicated web page: Pharmacy contract teams

  1. My pharmacy wants to support the local Primary Care Network (PCN) / Health Board to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations

  • In England, NHS England and NHS Improvement has confirmed that community pharmacy contractors can collaborate with their local Primary Care Network to support them to deliver maximum vaccine uptake via the GP Enhanced Service or with vaccination centres. Please see this letter from NHSE&I for more information [PDF 147 KB].
     
  • This may be, for example, to increase capacity or target certain populations such as care homes by entering into a sub-contracting agreement. PCN groupings would be responsible for meeting the costs of any additional paid workforce. Please contact your PCN for more information.
     
  •  In Scotland, the Scottish Government has confirmed that community pharmacies will not be the default delivery channel for COVID-19 vaccination. Community pharmacies are asked to support the programme by providing vaccinations by agreement . Community pharmacy staff may also be asked to undertake vaccination sessions by their Health Boards.  More information is available in this circular for community pharmacy.
     
  • In Wales, Health Boards are leading on the delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations and there are no current plans to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations through community pharmacy.
     
  • Any pharmacy professionals that are involved in delivering COVID-19 vaccinations need to meet the standards for pharmacy professionals in whatever setting they are working.
     
  • If you are involved in delivering vaccinations on a site other than a registered pharmacy, you should deliver that service to the same standard as you would do if you were in a registered pharmacy. You can use the standards for registered pharmacies as a framework for this, including in relation to governance, risk management and equipment.
     
  • You will need to make sure any pharmacy staff involved undertake relevant training for their role. There will be vaccine-specific training for each vaccine that is approved. Please speak to your local PCN / Health Board for details.
     
  • You and your staff need to be aware of and working to all the relevant guidance, regulatory requirements and standard operating procedures for the setting in which vaccinations are being delivered; please speak to your local PCN /Health Board for more details.
     
  • You will need to make sure there are appropriate indemnity arrangements in place for clinical and non-clinical tasks. You should also speak to the PCN / Health Board.   

  1. My pharmacy wants to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations ‘at’ or ‘from’ a registered pharmacy

  • In England, NHS England and NHS Improvement regional teams are commissioning selected community pharmacy contractors who are able to meet the requirements to provide a COVID-19 vaccination service from pharmacy-led designated sites. Please see this letter from NHSE&I for more information [PDF 147 KB].
     
  • The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has published further information and key links for pharmacy contractors who are interested in delivering COVID-19 vaccinations.
     
  • Pharmacy owners have a responsibility to make sure the standards for registered pharmacies are met at all times, including at any designated sites for COVID-19 vaccinations.  This includes the standards relating to governance, risk management, equipment and facilities.  We also expect pharmacy owners to be meeting the supporting guidance for these standards, including the guidance on ensuring a safe and effective team, at all times.
     
  • The Responsible Pharmacist (RP), the Superintendent Pharmacist (SP) and the pharmacy owner will be working together in an appropriate and clear governance framework detailing their respective functions and accountabilities.
     
  • Any pharmacy professionals that are involved in delivering COVID-19 vaccinations need to meet the standards for pharmacy professionals in whatever setting they are working.
     
  • Please note that the provisional registration scheme does not allow provisionally registered pharmacists to act as the Responsible Pharmacist with responsibility for a COVID-19 vaccination service delivered at or from a registered pharmacy (including in ‘associated premises’) or to be the pharmacist in charge of a vaccination service being provided in ‘associated premises’.
     
  • You will need to make sure any pharmacy staff involved undertake relevant training for their role. There will be vaccine-specific training for each vaccine that is approved. Please speak to NHSE&I for more information.
     
  • You and your staff need to be aware of and working to all the relevant guidance, regulatory requirements and standard operating procedures for the setting in which vaccinations are being delivered; please speak to NHSE&I for more details.

 

Indemnity arrangements

  • Under the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Coronavirus, in England the government is providing clinical negligence indemnity for community pharmacies and their staff that are operating under, and in accordance with, a Local Enhanced Service agreement for the Covid-19 vaccination programme. This indemnity arrangement covers clinical negligence only and applies until 31 March 2021. 
     
  • You will still need to make sure you have appropriate indemnity arrangements in place for non-clinical tasks, to cover other liabilities such as public liability and employer’s liability.
     
  • Further details about the indemnity arrangements for the COVID-19 vaccination programme in England is provided by NHS Resolution
     

If you want to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations at a pharmacy-led designated site that is not the registered pharmacy (an associated premises):

  • Changes to legislation have recently been introduced which mean that medicinal products used for vaccination or immunisation against coronavirus can now be prepared, assembled and administered under the supervision of a pharmacist at a site that is not a registered pharmacy.
     
  • This means you now no longer need to apply for temporary registration if you are providing a COVID-19 vaccination service using a vaccine that requires preparation or assembly at a site that is not a registered pharmacy.
     
  • Any pharmacy-led site that you use to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations would be classed as an associated premises. You must comply with the standards for registered pharmacies at the associated premises and be linked in an appropriate governance framework to the registered pharmacy from which the service is provided.
     
  • The vaccination service you provide at the associated premises is open to being inspected by the GPhC just as if it were taking place at a registered pharmacy.
     
  • Pharmacists working at the associated premises providing clinical oversight for vaccinations as the required “registered healthcare professionals”, and any other pharmacy professionals working at the associated premises, will need to meet the standards for pharmacy professionals at all times.
     
  • The Responsible Pharmacist (RP) at the registered premises is responsible for the safe and effective supply of medicines at the associated premises. The on-site pharmacist(s) who are delivering the service will need to be linked in with the Responsible Pharmacist at the host pharmacy, as well as the Superintendent Pharmacist (SP) and the pharmacy owner,  via an appropriate governance framework.
     
  •  Please note that the provisional registration scheme does not allow provisionally registered pharmacists to act as the Responsible Pharmacist with responsibility for a COVID-19 vaccination service delivered at or from a registered pharmacy (including in ‘associated premises’) or to be the pharmacist in charge of a vaccination service being provided in ‘associated premises’.

  1. I’m looking for key links and resources about the COVID-19 vaccination programmes