GPs 'go on standby for Covid-19 vaccine rollout in early December'

3 November 2020, 17:45

File photo of an AstraZeneca technician helping develop a Covid-19 vaccine
File photo of an AstraZeneca technician helping develop a Covid-19 vaccine. Picture: PA

By Ewan Somerville

GPs are to be put on standby in case of a potential Covid-19 vaccine rollout beginning in December, reports suggest.

Family doctors will reportedly be told to be prepared to start vaccinating over-85s and frontline workers from early December.

Work has been going on behind the scenes to prepare for any potential Covid vaccine and how it could be rolled out.

Pulse, the GP magazine, reported that GPs will receive a “directed enhanced service” (DES) from next week which sets out how they deliver a service above their usual contract.

It has been told the DES on a potential Covid vaccine rollout is “imminent, potentially by next week”.

There are two frontrunners in the Covid-19 vaccine race – candidates from German biotech firm BioNtech and US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the vaccine candidate being developed by University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.

Both vaccine candidates are currently in phase three clinical trials.

Before any vaccine comes to the market, regulators have to confirm they are safe and effective.

It has been suggested that regulators could be getting clinical data within weeks.

Read more: Oxford scientist says Government used 'incorrect graph to justify lockdown'

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The committee which advises the Government on vaccines has already set out the priority groups who should receive any vaccine first.

According to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, older adults resident in a care home and care home workers should be the first to be given any approved vaccine.

Then all those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers are next on the priority list.