COVID-19 vaccination programme

Key information for pharmacy professionals and pharmacy owners

We recognise the pharmacy professionals and pharmacies on our register are playing an important role in a potential COVID-19 vaccination programme across Great Britain 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 across Great Britain and signposts to key resources.

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

Last updated 29 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 FAQs and links to 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’.
    .
  • Please visit the NHS Professionals website to find out about opportunities to join the NHS COVID-19 vaccine team in England.
     
  • Please visit the NHS Scotland Recruitment website for opportunities in Scotland.  NHS Boards in Scotland are advertising for roles that they currently have available. There will be on-going recruitment over the coming months, as delivery of the programme accelerates and as Boards undertake assessments of their long-term workforce needs.
     
  • 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, national terms and conditions have been negotiated to enable independent contractors to participate in vaccinations delivery, on a sessional basis, on behalf of an NHS Scotland Board. Arrangements are in place to allow GPs and some pharmacists to deliver the vaccine from their own premises. Individuals who are interested in being involved in this capacity should contact Community Pharmacy Scotland for further information. 
     
  • In Wales, Health Boards are leading on the delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations. Health boards are currently asking for expressions of interest from community pharmacies who would like to be part of the vaccination process.
     
  • 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. The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has published further information and key links for pharmacy contractors who are interested in delivering COVID-19 vaccinations.
     
  • The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has published further information and key links for pharmacy contractors who are interested in delivering COVID-19 vaccinations.
     
  • In Scotland, national terms and conditions have been negotiated to enable independent contractors to participate in vaccinations delivery, on a sessional basis, on behalf of an NHS Scotland Board. Arrangements are in place to allow GPs and some pharmacists to deliver the vaccine from their own premises. Individuals who are interested in being involved in this capacity should contact Community Pharmacy Scotland for further information. 
     
  • In Wales, Health Boards are leading on the delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations. Health boards are currently asking for expressions of interest from community pharmacies who would like to be part of the vaccination process.
     
  • 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 FAQs and links to resources about the COVID-19 vaccination programmes 
     

Frequently-asked questions

As a pharmacy professional, do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

As a pharmacy professional providing key healthcare services, and often dealing with patients directly, we encourage you to get yourself vaccinated at the earliest opportunity and to encourage your staff to get vaccinated as well. This will help you to protect your patients, your colleagues, your family and yourself.
 

When will I be offered a COVID-19 vaccination?

Frontline pharmacy workers are among the high priority groups identified by the JCVI for receiving a vaccine. The health and care services across the UK are working hard to get this to you as soon as possible. 

 

Can pharmacy technicians work as vaccinators in the COVID-19 vaccination programme?
 

Pharmacy technicians are playing a vital role in the distribution, preparation and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pharmacy technicians can administer COVID-19 vaccines under a Patient Specific Direction (PSD) or a National Protocol.

Pharmacy Technicians are not able to administer vaccines under a Patient Group Direction (PGD) as they are not included in the Registered Health care professionals listed in legislation.

Further information is available in the position statement published by APTUK on Pharmacy Technicians and the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.

The Specialist Pharmacy Service provides further information about Patient Group Directions (PGDs) and about giving vaccines legally: mechanisms and application on its website.

Can provisionally-registered pharmacists work as vaccinators in the COVID-19 vaccination programme?

Yes, provisionally-registered pharmacists can work as vaccinators or in other appropriate roles in the COVID-19 vaccination programme,working under the supervision of a registered health professional.

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’), to be the pharmacist in charge of a vaccination service being provided in ‘associated premises’, or to be the clinical supervisor for a vaccination site.

How will you manage fitness to practise concerns about pharmacy professionals providing COVID-19 vaccinations?

We recognise some pharmacy professionals may find themselves working in unfamiliar circumstances or surroundings, or for professionals, working in clinical areas outside their usual practice for the benefit of patients and the population as a whole- and this may include those involved in vaccinating patients against COVID-19. 

We have committed to continue to take into account factors relevant to the environment in which the professional is working, including relevant information about resources, guidelines or protocols in place at the time, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and this will include if professionals are working in the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Our joint statement with other regulators outlines our approach.

Will the GPhC inspect pharmacies and associated premises that are providing vaccination services?

Our inspection team is continuing to focus on providing support to registered pharmacies on their arrangements and plans, to help them manage pressures and challenges during the pandemic. We have suspended routine inspections at this time.

Our approach includes working closely with the NHS to support pharmacies that are setting up and operating COVID-19 vaccination sites. In England, our inspectors are working closely with NHSE&I regional commissioning teams in the set-up phase of pharmacy sites to provide support and seek assurance that our standards will be met. An inspector has made contact with each of the pharmacies which are providing the service so that the pharmacies have a point of contact and are able to raise queries and concerns. We will also work closely with the NHS and pharmacies which will be offering COVID-19 vaccinations in Scotland and Wales.

Pharmacies and associated premises providing COVID-19 vaccination services may be visited or inspected by the GPhC, if we receive information that would suggest a visit or inspection may be appropriate.

Can you give us any examples of good practice for providing COVID-19 vaccination services?

We are publishing examples of notable practice when providing COVID-19 vaccination services on our Knowledge Hub