General practitioners in England will be notified 10 days before any Covid-19 vaccine starts rolling out.
A letter from senior health officials to family doctors outlined more details about how and when the vaccine should be distributed in communities.
This comes as three vaccine candidates have released tentative results from their clinical trials, including recently Oxford and AstraZeneca.
All of them including the UK vaccine have indicated positive results for safety and efficacy to date, sparking hopes for an exit restrictions from spring.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a vaccine could be approved within “days” once the organizers received final submissions from researchers.
The organizers were conducting “rolling reviews” so that the scientists could present the data as soon as they had it and not at the end of their experiments.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) confirmed Monday that it has received the necessary data to advance its review of whether the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine meets the required standards.
As regulators continue to evaluate trial data, GP clinics are developing extensive plans to manage first shots that we hope will roll out soon.
Vaccination will not begin at GP sites in the week beginning November 30, according to a letter from NHS England officials.
But she said GPs could use newly appointed vaccine clinics to roll out the flu shot – which has now been given the green light to cover more than 50 years.
Health leaders in England also said GPs could use £ 20m to cover the costs of “the largest vaccination campaign in NHS history”.
The letter from Dr. Nikki Kanani, Medical Director for Primary Care at NHS England, and Ed Waller, NHS England Director of Primary Care, thanked the doctors for their efforts during the pandemic and praised their “remarkable response” to establishing the vaccination sites.
He said, “We’ve had an amazing response from public practice.
“We know that general practice is already busy and we are very grateful for your commitment to ensuring that your patients are vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
“We will aim to give all sites at least 10 days notice of the availability of the first vaccines to ensure sites can be established and clinics can be arranged.
“Vaccinations will not start at the primary care network (PCN) collection sites during the week of 11/30.”
The message added: “As you know, there was an announcement this week by the Secretary of State for Health that the flu vaccination program should extend to the 50-64 age group.
“In light of the assertion that Covid vaccinations will not start during the week of 11/30, we are aware that some PCN groups may wish to use this opportunity to invite this group to their individual designated site, in order to test the arrangements while ensuring the best sequence of the two programs.”
She also said that more guidance will be issued on how to vaccinate residents in care homes, as well as those who need to be vaccinated at home.
Dr. Al-Kinani said: “We have received an amazing response from general practice teams in every part of the country, who want to play their part in introducing a vaccine that can save lives safely and effectively.”
“Potential sites to introduce the vaccine in communities have already been nominated, and an additional £ 20 million investment could be used to cover the one-time setup costs which will be part of the largest vaccination campaign in the history of the NHS.”