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Pharmacy inspections

Inspection reports and learning from inspections

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Accurately timing the 15-minute post-vaccination observation period following a COVID-19 vaccination.

Pharmacy type


Pharmacy context


Relevant standards

  • 4.2 - Pharmacy services are managed and delivered safely and effectively

Why this is notable practice

The pharmacy is using a simple but effective way to reduce the risk of people leaving the premises prematurely following their COVID-19 booster vaccination. This ensures people remain for post-vaccination observations for at least 15 minutes.

How the pharmacy did this

People attending the pharmacy for a COVID-19 booster vaccination were instructed to wait for 15 minutes before leaving the pharmacy so that they could be observed. This observation period was advised in The Green Book Chapter 14A and it stated that ‘all recipients of the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines should be kept for observation and monitored for a minimum of 15 minutes’.

The pharmacy had purchased kitchen timers that were set for 15 minutes and given to patients or their escorts to take to the post-vaccination seating area. The timers beeped loudly after the 15 minutes had elapsed. This was useful as the current vaccination cohort were generally elderly and some were hard of hearing. A member of the pharmacy team collected the timer and assisted the patient and their escort to exit the premises safely. The timer was then disinfected and handed back to the vaccinating pharmacist for use with another patient.

What difference this made to patients

People may feel confused or are unable to accurately judge how long they need to wait following a vaccine. The timer supports people in waiting the required 15 minutes before they leave the pharmacy. This ensures that pharmacy team members are able to identify and respond appropriately to any adverse effects occurring within this time.

Highlighted standards

We have identified the standards most likely and least likely to be met in inspections, and highlighted examples of notable practice for each of these standards; to help everyone learn from others and to support continuous improvement:

  1. 1.1 Risk management
  2. 1.2 Reviewing and monitoring the safety of services
  3. 4.2 Safe and effective service delivery
  4. 4.3 Sourcing and safe, secure management of medicines and devices
  5. 2.2 Staff skills and qualifications