Supply of COVID-19 vaccines under Mutual Aid

Tim Root, Assistant Head, NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service, Specialist Pharmacy ServicePublished Last updated See all updates

Considerations to note when seeking to transfer COVID-19 vaccinations from one provider to another

About Mutual Aid

Mutual aid is defined as the transfer of COVID-19 vaccine by one organisation or provider providing NHS COVID-19 vaccination services to another.

In general, there should be no routine mutual aid between any organisations. Organisations will be expected to use the supplies made available and delivered directly to them to vaccinate their patients.

Exceptions

Mutual Aid is designed and approved for use in exceptional circumstances only and in accordance with the NHSEI policy, when there is a significant risk that booked patients would otherwise go unvaccinated or unused vaccine would be wasted.

The flexibility afforded by mutual aid for the movement of COVID-19 vaccines does not apply to monkeypox vaccines.

Supply

Supply should always be in original cartons. This is important for controlling expiry date changes and ensuring the vaccines are appropriately packaged for transport.

Vials

Vials should not be removed from the manufacturer’s original carton and must be unpunctured.

Part-filled Cartons

Supply of less than a full carton is allowed only if some vials from an opened carton have already been used and the remainder can be supplied in that carton labelled with the correct expiry date.

Risk assessment

Each case should be individually assessed and approved by both the dispatching and the receiving site lead pharmacists, who are professionally responsible for safeguarding the quality and integrity of the vaccine and vials.

Further information

Read the full policy from NHSEI: Mutual aid and the transfer of COVID-19 vaccines between NHS vaccination sites

Change history

  1. Clarification around monkeypox vaccines and mutual aid included
  1. Reviewed no changes made pending review of NHSEI Mutual Aid Policy
  1. Re-formatted by Shani
  1. Published