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COVID-19 vaccine safety at primary care network vaccination centres

We ensured that vaccination centres functioned with safety at the highest level by training staff and providing ongoing senior pharmaceutical support.


When the COVID-19 vaccination programme began, our Medicines Optimisation team offered support to all eight Primary Care Network (PCN) vaccine centres across Chorley and South Ribble and Greater Preston.


The team completed 10 hours of training provided by the local Hospital Trust and Health Education England. This ensured each member of the team could competently dilute the vaccine using aseptic technique and had the required knowledge to confidently respond to queries. We then supported the vaccination centres with:

  • Dilution of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
  • Training other staff how to competently dilute the vaccine
  • Escalating queries from PCNs and vaccination centre staff to the local System Vaccination Operating Centre (SVOC)
  • Storing vaccines appropriately and maintaining the cold chain
  • Reporting defective or damaged vials via the Yellow Card Scheme and returning to the manufacturer.

We also provided senior pharmaceutical support including:

  • Clinical assurance of vaccination centres
  • Development and ratification of local policies
  • Clinical support to the CCG vaccination programme lead
  • Key information on legal and pharmaceutical issues
  • Readily available advice to clinicians.


Seven PCN vaccination centres across Chorley and South Ribble and Greater Preston were supported by the MLCSU Medicines Optimisation team.

Senior pharmaceutical input enabled effective and efficient delivery of the vaccination programme including policy changes, clinical guidance, legal matters and cold change management.

We ensured the vaccine vials were stored and diluted safely by training many healthcare professionals across the vaccine centres.

New paperwork was created to ensure the processes of storage, dilution and administration of the vaccine followed standard operating procedure and that they were auditable and translatable across all sites.

Fridges were regularly reviewed and assessed for breaks in the cold chain to ensure minimal vaccine wastage.

We helped the operation of the vaccination bus during ‘Phase Two’ of the vaccine roll out. The bus delivered the vaccine to the heart of areas of Preston and Chorley where uptake had been poor.

Support was provided 7am-8pm, seven days a week, through flexible working and shift patterns to ensure there is cover during all PCN vaccination centres operating hours.

The guidance and support that the team have provided has been invaluable in our journey in mobilising the COVID vaccination programme. Their expertise has ensured that our vaccination centre has functioned with safety at the highest level and the team are always happy to support and provide cover when asked.  As a Primary Care Network, we could not have asked for better support, the whole team should be commended, without them, our delivery programme may not have been as successful as it is. Thank you to you all, you have been outstanding and unwavering in your support to us all.”  Andrea Trafford – PCN Non-Clinical Vaccine Lead, Chorley Central PCN

“Fantastic support and thank you to all the team, you are amazing.” Gillian Stubbs – Practice Manager, Leyland PCN

“I just wanted to say a personal thank you to all the team that has helped us out at the COVID-19 vaccination centre, it has been an absolute pleasure working with each and every one of you, you have all been amazing! We really wouldn’t have been able to run the Pfizer clinics without your help.” Tara Oxby – Pharmacy Technician, Chorley East PCN

“The amazing turnaround response to our request was testament to the teamwork approach I think we should all be proud of. On the days the Medicines Optimisation team are on site – everyone is great and works seamlessly as part of the wider delivery team.  Even when – unfortunately due to the nature of it – they are often left to themselves in the other end of the building!! In summary – I’d like to say the support has been and continues to be invaluable and I think it’s just one example of how Central Lancashire has worked so well together on this programme and other pandemic services.” Brian Hann – PCN Non-Clinical Vaccine Lead, Chorley and South Ribble Health Network