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Waking up to community pharmacy?


By Carolyn Scott
Editor

02 Dec 2021

Editor, Carolyn Scott asks whether community pharmacies finally getting the recognition from the Government they have always deserved.

The announcement this week that there would be a stronger push on Covid 19 booster vaccinations was notable for several reasons.

One was that the arrival of the new coronavirus variant Omicron is being taken seriously enough that the half-hearted Covid booster programme needs to be put back on track. Another was the speed at which Government is acting. But also – listen up – was that community pharmacy featured prominently in the announcements as a primary route for delivering vaccines as part of the booster programme.


Often a second thought, a point of clarification, or only mention on a secondary statement, community pharmacy seems to have been getting quite a bit of attention lately.


Multiple ministers have visited pharmacies for their flu and Covid jabs – stopping for a photo call while they are there – and health secretary Sajid Javid gave a speech as a guest at a recent celebration of 100 years of the National Pharmacy Association.


Is this health secretary waking up to the potential of community pharmacy? It could be that the exhaustive efforts of pharmacy representatives over decades to highlight the skills and convenient access to care that pharmacy can offer is finally being recognised. Perhaps as far as Covid-19 is concerned, it is.


The accessibility of pharmacies in local communities, plus the long-standing experience of pharmacy teams in vaccination, is of course hard to ignore.


Will busy community pharmacies, already working to cope with winter pressures, now respond to the call for additional Covid booster vaccination sites? We will see.


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