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Keeping your staff safe: Covid-19 vaccines

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How is the vaccine being rolled out locally?

Currently Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are playing a leadership and coordinating role in many local areas, with most vaccinations delivered through primary care networks. As of 7th January, NHS Trusts are required to establish hospital hubs for vaccination which will be the default vaccination sites for health and social care workers. Vaccine roll out is also being piloted at 200 pharmacy sites. Plans currently exist for a small number of mass vaccination sites in major cities.

Other variables locally may include the availability of local hubs for vaccination, local partnerships and the challenges of the super cold storage needed for the Pfizer vaccine.

The roll out of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine began on 4th January and will enable a far larger amount of people to be prioritised. Although it is much easier to store, the larger scale will bring fresh challenges.

Will drug and alcohol workers be prioritised for vaccination?

Yes. They are health and social care workers and therefore fall into priority 2 for vaccination.

Chapter 14 (pdf) of the “Green Book” sets out detail of which roles fall into these categories and explicitly includes community-based addictions services.

Is the voluntary sector included?

Yes. Guidance from NHS England/Improvement published on 7th January specifically mentions “third sector” frontline social care workers.

How can I ensure my staff are vaccinated?

Given the variation described above the most useful first steps are to get in touch with the relevant contacts in your local system. We suggest:

  • Contacting your public health commissioners in the local authority to make it clear which of your staff need vaccination, and how many.
  • Using any existing relationships with local NHS trusts to remind them of your vaccination requirements. Some voluntary sector providers have reported NHS partners usefully including them in established vaccination pathways.
  • Contacting the vaccination programme manager, or failing that the primary care commissioning manager, in your Clinical Commissioning Group.

If you are having problems getting your staff vaccinated please let us know and we’ll try and help.


March 2021 update: There is the possibility that services could act as local vaccination hubs, so it may be worthwhile for services to contact their local authority vaccination lead about this.

We hope you have found this useful. If you have any suggested additions please email Peter Keeling. We will next be collating information and good practice on vaccinating service users.

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Collective Voice is the national charity working to improve England’s drug and alcohol treatment and recovery systems