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COVID-19: practice nurses raise concerns over vaccine administration protocols

RCN calls for clearer guidance regarding patient-specific directions

RCN calls for clearer guidance regarding patient-specific directions

Some community nurses administering the COVID-19 vaccine in the primary care phase of the programme have raised concerns over vaccination protocols.

Nurses in more than 100 GP practices across the country initiated the primary care part of the immunisation plan this week. Those being offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are people aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and residents.

    Nurses blindly giving injection drawn up by another practitioner

    RCN professional lead for primary care Heather Randle told Nursing Standard that the college had heard

    RCN calls for clearer guidance regarding patient-specific directions

    Nurse wearing a facce mask talking to two patients in a clinic waiting room, both wearing masks
    Primary care nurses continue to run face-to-face clinics, alongside administering the COVID-19 and flu vaccine programmes Picture: PA

    Some community nurses administering the COVID-19 vaccine in the primary care phase of the programme have raised concerns over vaccination protocols.

    Nurses in more than 100 GP practices across the country initiated the primary care part of the immunisation plan this week. Those being offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are people aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and residents.

    Nurses ‘blindly giving injection’ drawn up by another practitioner

    RCN professional lead for primary care Heather Randle told Nursing Standard that the college had heard concerns from some primary care nurses working under a patient-specific direction – where one practitioner mixes the vaccine and another administers it.

    ‘We’ve had a lot of anxiety over that – you are blindly giving an injection to someone,’ she said. ‘There has been a bit of push back from registered nurses saying “I’m not happy to give an injection that someone else has drawn up for me”.’

    The RCN has called for more guidance on the roles and responsibilities of healthcare staff when administering the vaccine and working under a patient-specific direction.

    Practices alter protocols following adverse reactions on first day of roll-out

    Practices across the UK have also been forced to alter their vaccination proctocols because the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency implemented a 15-minute observation period following each injection. The change was made after two people experienced adverse reactions on the first day of the programme.

    RCN general practice nursing forum committee member Sarah Hall told Nursing Standard: ‘It’s a significant change and can cause a backlog in our system. Nurses, practices and primary care networks are working through it and they have good plans in place.’

    Ms Hall added that nurses in primary care are continuing to run face-to-face clinics alongside the COVID-19 and flu vaccination programmes.

    More than 137,000 people in the UK received their first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in the first week of the programme, 108,000 of whom were in England.

    Weekly vaccination figures will be published by the government from next week.

    The Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England were contacted about further guidance for nurses on administering the vaccine.


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