Coronavirus (COVID-19): Scotland's autumn/winter vaccination strategy 2021

Strategy outlining our progress on COVID-19 vaccinations and plans for COVID-19 and seasonal influenza (flu) vaccinations in autumn and winter 2021 to 2022 in Scotland.

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12. Supply and distribution

How we receive our COVID-19 vaccine supply

There are now four COVID-19 vaccines currently authorised for use by the MHRA: AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria), Moderna (Spikevax), Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Janssen, although the JCVI has not yet provided advice on use of this vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are procured on a four nations basis via the UK Vaccines Taskforce, who work alongside suppliers to increase stability and security of supply to the four nations. Vaccines allocated to Scotland are distributed to a wide range of sites, including vaccine holding centres, GP practices and vaccination centres.

We are working closely with NHS Scotland, PHE and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) colleagues to ensure adequate vaccine supply is in place for our COVID-19 booster programme and on-going rolling offer. Supply planning is informed by JCVI and MHRA guidance regarding boosters and third primary doses to ensure adequate supply is in place.

How we receive our flu vaccine supply

The flu vaccines that have been centrally procured for the forthcoming flu season are in line with the recommendations from the JCVI. We have secured enough vaccine to vaccinate all those who are eligible to receive the flu vaccine this season. We have already received vaccine deliveries from manufacturer Seqirus. NHS Boards are allocated a volume of vaccines and can draw down supplies for delivery locally as and when required throughout the programme. GPs can also order vaccine supplies for delivery directly to Practices for immunisations they have scheduled.

Minimising COVID-19 vaccine waste

In May 2021 the Chief Medical Officer set out our expectations of Health Boards in relation to minimising waste. Given the scale of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, some vaccine wastage has been unavoidable for a variety of reasons based on: the characteristics of the vaccine; logistical issues with cold chain supply; storage failure; and vial size and/or specific clinical situations. We reported in our July update to the deployment plan that we were operating wastage at well below the estimated 5%. Over the previous two months to the end of September, vaccine wastage averaged 2.2%. Further information on the vaccine wastage data can be found on our website. We continue to work with Health Boards to ensure we maintain wastage at a minimum, and maximise the availability of vaccines to the people of Scotland.

One aspect of a continuous process of improvement undertaken by staff within the vaccination programme was the development of a web-based vaccine waste recording tool. Vaccinators are able to record any vaccine wastage produced at any COVID-19 vaccine clinic. The web-based system was developed primarily to record the number of wasted doses along with the reason they were wasted to help understand common reasons for vaccine wastage and to support the introduction of measures designed to reduce waste.

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