How Covid booster programme could look in Norfolk and Waveney
- Credit: Denise Bradley
Up to 1.2 million Covid booster vaccinations could be delivered in Norfolk and Waveney from September alongside the flu jab.
Martin Howard told the board of the Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (N&WCCG) on Tuesday that between 950,000 and 1.2 million Covid and flu jabs are estimated to be delivered over a 19-week period.
The region has administered 1.4 million doses to date, placing it sixth in the country for first doses and fourth overall for second doses administered.
Mr Howard said it was likely the group would deliver the same vaccination model but with fewer larger vaccination sites and more community pharmacies as well as GP practices and hospital hubs.
He said it was key to secure community pharmacy sites which could be a "gamechanger" in getting to hard to reach communities for both Covid boosters and flu jabs.
Dr Anoop Dhesi, GP and chair of the CCG board, said: "On the whole it is going to be a lot more efficient and quicker to administer both vaccines together than to do it on two separate occasions with two separate appointments and two separate sets of vaccinators.
"Also we recognise that more than likely this is going to be business as usual for us going forward, co-administration of flu and an annual, maybe bi-annual, booster for Covid is probably with us for sometime. Whatever process we set up they need to be sustainable for the future."
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GPs and community pharmacies have until July 28 to express their interest before final decisions are made with NHS England Improvements from August 13.
Mr Howard said there were three areas of concerns from primary care services including co-administration of the Covid and flu vaccines.
Mr Howard said: "We have been told to plan on the basis it will be possible and that Pfizer will be the Covid vaccine of choice so we will be building in the 15 minutes observation period. It does raise other issues, potential disruption to waiting and well known effective processes for the flu vaccine, because delivering the flu and Covid vaccines are quite different things if you have a 15-minute observation period."
Tracy Williams said she was keen for the CCG to incorporate services such as the vaccination bus, which has been used to reach hard to reach health groups.