GPs are getting ready for a potential December Covid vaccine rollout

GPs have been told to prepare to potentially administer a Covid-19 vaccine by December.

UK doctors will receive a "directed enhanced service" (DES) from next week which gives instructions on how to carry out the procedure, according to medical magazine, Pulse. The publication says it has been told that the DES on a potential Covid vaccine rollout is "imminent, potentially by next week."

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The Press Association reports that GPs are now on standby in case of a vaccine rollout in December. Frontline health workers and those aged 85 or over would be the first to receive the vaccine.

Before a vaccine can be administered, however, regulators must confirm it is safe and effective. It has been suggested that regulators could be getting clinical data within weeks.

Phase three clinical trials

There are currently two frontrunners in the Covid-19 vaccine race. One is being developed by German biotech firm, BioNtech, and US pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, and the other by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.

Both vaccine candidates are currently in phase three clinical trials.

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Who will be prioritised for a vaccine?

The prioritisation for Covid-19 vaccines is currently provisional, and is based on preliminary information on the vaccines in development and provisional timelines for vaccine availability, according to the government. It is also subject to change.

The committee behind the prioritisation of the vaccine agreed that it was not possible to come to a firm position on priority groups at this time, but the committee also strongly agreed that an age-based programme will likely result in both faster delivery and better uptake in those at the highest risk.

However, the following is a provisional ranking of prioritisation for persons at-risk:

Older adults’ resident in a care home and care home workersAll those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workersAll those 75 years of age and overAll those 70 years of age and overAll those 65 years of age and overHigh-risk adults under 65 years of ageModerate-risk adults under 65 years of ageAll those 60 years of age and overAll those 55 years of age and overAll those 50 years of age and overRest of the population (priority to be determined)

The UK government does note that the prioritisation could substantially change if the first available vaccines were not considered suitable for, or effective in, older adults.