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Pharmacist indemnity for Covid-19 vaccinations

If you are going to be administering Covid-19 vaccinations – then please read this important message from the PDA!

Thu 24th December 2020 The PDA

The Covid-19 vaccination programme is the next demand to be placed upon the profession, one which many pharmacists view as a game changing opportunity to take on the pandemic and help overcome the virus. We know that pharmacists will want to undertake this task safely and competently.

A core regulatory requirement placed upon all pharmacists is that their work must be protected by professional indemnity insurance. However, providing indemnity for vaccinating patients with the Covid-19 vaccine has been challenging as there are many novel and as yet unquantifiable risks of liability to pharmacists.

These include;

  1. The need to store one of the vaccines at minus -70⁰C, to allow it to thaw and then dilute it prior to use.
  2. The need to draw up the vaccine into a fresh syringe prior to each vaccination.
  3. The need to use the diluted vaccine within 6 hours.
  4. That compared to much longer-term clinical trials enjoyed by other vaccinations in the past, the knowledge of the side effects and contra-indications of these new Covid-19 vaccines, especially in the early stages of the programme will be more limited. Less is known about the warnings, contra-indications and guidance that pharmacists should be expected to provide to the public. Additionally, less is known about the nature and style of resuscitation pharmacists may be called upon to deliver.
  5. That the forthcoming vaccination activities will be large scale, fast pace and large volume throughput operations.
  6. That there is a need to follow through with a second dose within 28 days of the first dose at a time of likely supply pressures.
  7. That any vaccinators will be responding to a yet untested NHS booking system.
  8. That the vaccinators themselves will be more exposed to the risk of a Covid-19 infection.
  9. That some aspects of the service may well be delivered by volunteers and others who will likely not be healthcare professionals.

Because of these additional risks, the PDA’s insurance underwriters would not allow Covid-19 vaccinations to be treated in the same way as the flu vaccination. Following detailed and sometimes daily discussions with Department of Health and senior NHS officials, new indemnity arrangements have been agreed.

More details of the arrangements can be found here they include information about how the liability associated with the risk of Covid-19 vaccinations is to be shared with the government.

However, the government arrangements only protect the interests of patients and do not seek to protect the interests of pharmacists in the event that they are caught up in any regulatory or other proceedings alleging malpractice.

The PDA has therefore developed an indemnity and medico-legal solution that is designed to protect all members, and it has been achieved by establishing a policy extension to enable PDA members involved in Covid-19 vaccinations to enjoy independent protection if something goes wrong during their vaccination duties.

Added to these specific Covid-19 vaccination injection related benefits are the wide range of additional PDA membership benefits, including PDA Union membership.

At £35, the Covid-19 pharmacist vaccination extension offers protection for PDA member pharmacists who will deliver Covid-19 vaccinations in whichever sector of pharmacy, primary care or secondary care setting they are working.




The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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