Last reviewed 5 January 2021

GPs are to be paid an extra £10 for every Covid-19 vaccine dose they give to care home residents or staff, in addition to a £12.58 item-of-service fee, due additional time and resources needed to deliver the vaccination programme in care homes.

NHS England stated in a recent email bulletin: “‘We appreciate the additional time and resources needed to deliver this complex vaccine in a care home setting, especially at such a busy time of the year. Therefore, we will be providing an additional supplement of £10 per dose on top of the item of service fee for all vaccines delivered in a care home setting.”

The announcement came as primary care networks (PCNs) were given new guidance that they will now be paid after each dose of a Covid-19 vaccine is administered because second jabs are being delayed to maximise the short-term impact of the programme. This announcement follows the approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for use in the UK.

Updated advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) has recommended that as many people as possible in high-risk groups be given their first vaccine dose. It says the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may be given between 3 to 12 weeks following the first dose. The second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine may be given between 4 to 12 weeks following the first dose. This will enable the NHS to vaccinate as many people in at risk groups as possible with a first dose. GP practices now have the challenge of contacting the hundreds of thousands of patients that have already been vaccinated as the programme.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC “Breakfast” programme that the “Oxford” vaccine will first be administered in hospitals “as the Pfizer vaccine was, and then we’ll be able to get out and vaccinate all the residents of care homes, or offer the vaccinations to all residents of care homes, and care home staff”. Its approval will accelerate the vaccination programme for the most vulnerable groups as it does not have to be stored at such cold temperatures as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Matt Hancock said care home residents will be included in the first rollout of the “Oxford” vaccine, starting from 4 January. Despite being a top priority group care home residents and staff did not start seeing the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine reach care homes until several weeks after its approval on 2 December.

Royal College of General Practitioners Chair Professor Martin Marshall said the “Oxford” vaccine will overcome previous challenges as it is much more like other vaccines already delivered in general practice, “making it easier for GPs, our teams, and other primary care professionals to store it appropriately, and ultimately vaccinate a greater number of patients, at a faster pace in the community”.

Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation: Advice on Priority Groups for Covid-19 Vaccination, 30 December 2020 is at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020.

Current advice from Public Health England (PHE) is that people should receive the same vaccine for their second dose, although it does allow for a different jab to be administered if the first vaccine is unavailable. Its updated Covid-19 Vaccination: Information for Healthcare Practitioners is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-programme-guidance-for-healthcare-practitioners.