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Pharmacy support to Lancashire and South Cumbria COVID-19 vaccination programme

We provided insight to clinical enquiries, produced reports and worked to develop standard operating procedures to help improve patient safety and increase access to the vaccine in Lancashire and South Cumbria


The Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS) set up a System Vaccination Operation Centre (SVOC) and a Management and Coordination Organisation (MCO) to run the COVID-19 vaccination programme. The ICS required pharmacy oversight to the programme to ensure the safe and effective use of vaccines in line with regulations. Pharmacist leadership was required to support the SVOC and MCO functions.


We ensured national guidance for the vaccines was followed. We worked in partnership with trust chief pharmacists to:

– Oversee the pharmacy aspects of setting up mass vaccination sites, including site visits to inspect vaccine storage, usage and supply

– Audit vaccination teams to ensure process was followed

– Set up a direct phone line to pharmacists for the vaccination centres to call with queries when gaining patient consent

– Support the MCO function with setting up new services for pop-up/ mobile/ roving models of vaccination

– Investigate incidents and set up panels to learn lessons

– Attend the vaccine oversight board as subject matter experts for the vaccines

– Train SVOC staff and host webinars for all sites

– Have a dedicated named senior pharmacist with oversight of the programme as part of the MCO.


Since the programme commenced we have handled 1019 telephone queries from vaccination centre nurses, which has lead to increased patient safety and better access to the COVID-19 vaccines where the general public may otherwise have been turned away.

Since the start we have responded to 438 clinical email queries.

We have dealt with 39 incidents, running panels and producing reports of lessons learnt – putting further processes in place to ensure the safe use of the vaccines. This work was often in partnership with the local Screening and Immunisations Team.

We have worked with regional and national colleagues to alter processes and standard operating procedures where improvements were identified.

Since September 2021, when the region delegated the authorisation of mutual aid between organisations to SVOCs, we have authorised 853 movements of vaccines to ensure maximum usage of vaccines. This included getting vaccines to places with urgent requirements when delivery mechanisms failed.

The Medicines Management team have been a key and valued part of the vaccine programme. They have provided leadership and support to ensure the vaccine is handled and used correctly across all sites. The pharmacy phone line has dealt with many queries which has supported SVOC staff.”

Naveed Sharif | Head of Mass Vaccination and Coordination, Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS

“MLCSU Medicines Management team have been influential and extremely valuable in supporting the ICS vaccine programme across Lancashire and South Cumbria; from setting up sites to ongoing support to SVOC, MCO, sites and staff. They have ensured safety and kept us compliant with medicines regulations by challenging, and working hard to amend, proposals to the benefit of the vaccine programme and supporting maximised vaccine uptake.”

Jane Scattergood | Interim Director of Nursing & Quality, Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS