Requirements specific to the AstraZeneca vaccine when used for the COVID-19 vaccination service within community pharmacy settings

Authorisation for use

The MHRA’s conditions of temporary authorisation and the information for healthcare professionals and recipients outlines the framework through which the vaccine can be used.

Storing vaccine appropriately

Effective process control is essential to ensure that vaccines are stored correctly and expiry dates and times are allocated.

Storage prior to use

The unopened AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine (ChAdOx1 S [recombinant]) vials must be stored in a refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C and kept in their outer carton to protect from light. The vaccine must not be frozen.

Storage in use

In use, the AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine (ChAdOx1 S [recombinant]) vial should be used as soon as practically possible and within 6 hours. The vaccine can be stored between 20°C and 25°C during this 6 hour period.

Any AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine (ChAdOx1 S [recombinant]) vials which exceed the 6 hour in-use period must be discarded.

Further detail on storage

Storage requirements for each COVID-19 Vaccine

Specific requirements must be adhered to for each vaccine as per the MHRA information for health care professionals. We've summarised key requirements.

Handling and preparing vaccines

Extracting additional doses

The vials are multi dose containers and contain sufficient vaccine for 9 doses (from a 4mL vial) or 11 doses (from a 5mL vial) depending on the presentation received. Extracting additional doses of this vaccine is possible.

In order to extract 9 or 11 doses from a single vial, low dead-volume syringes and needles should be used. If standard syringes and needles are used, there may not be sufficient volume to extract 9 or 11 doses from a single vial.

When extracting additional doses, also remember (irrespective of the type of syringe and needle used) that:

  • Each dose must contain 0.5 mL of vaccine
  • If the amount of vaccine remaining in the vial cannot provide a full dose of 0.5 mL, discard the vial and any excess volume
  • Do not pool excess vaccine from multiple vials

If it is not possible to withdraw 9 or 11 doses, the waste category “no 9th or 11th dose available” should be recorded as a free text comment on the Foundry stock control system.

Preparing vaccine

Handling and preparing the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca: video demonstration

A video produced by North East and North Cumbria NHS showing the correct handling and preparation of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Administration

Administration requires diligent process control to ensure the vaccine is safe and effective at the point of use.

Use in relation to prior allergy

Prior to administration, prior allergy status should be checked.

Advising individuals with allergies on their suitability for COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca

Advice on whether people with a previous allergic reaction can have the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

Process flow for vaccination session

A diagram giving an overview of the process during a vaccination session is attached below.

SOPs, work instructions and checklists to adapt

Relevant Standard Operating Procedures, work instructions and checklists are available below. These may be adapted by Superintendent Pharmacists for use in Community Pharmacy settings.

Receiving and storing the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca at PCN designated sites

31 December 2020Standard Operating Procedure for PCN designated sites receiving and storing the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

Preparing the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca at PCN designated sites and end user locations

7 January 2021Standard Operating Procedure for preparation of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in PCN designated sites and end user locations prior to immediate administration.

Stocktaking and reconciliation of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca at PCN designated sites

31 December 2020Standard Operating Procedure for the stocktaking and reconciliation of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca at PCN designated sites.

Disposing of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca at PCN designated sites

31 December 2020Standard Operating Procedure for safe disposal of damaged, used, or expired COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca consigned for destruction at PCN Designated Sites.

Dealing with spillages and breakages of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca at PCN designated sites

31 December 2020Dealing with spillages and breakages of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca at PCN designated sites

Transporting the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca from PCN designated sites to end user locations, patients’ homes and within the PCN Grouping

6 January 2021SOP for transporting the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca from PCN designated sites to end user locations, patients’ homes and within the PCN Grouping.