Four independent pharmacies are among the first pharmacy-led sites to start administering Covid vaccinations today (14 January), NHS England has announced.
Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Appleton Village Pharmacy in Widnes, Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, and Woodside Pharmacy in Telford have all been approved as pilot sites, it said.
They will be joined by Boots Pharmacy in Halifax and Superdrug Pharmacy in Guildford.
According to NHS England, ‘up to 70 more’ community pharmacy sites are currently taking bookings for next week and ‘hundreds’ are due to open by the end of the month.
NHS England last week (7 January) confirmed that it was assessing 200 pharmacy-led sites, following the completion of its designation process in December 2020.
Today’s announcement said that all 200 sites are ‘due to come online over the next fortnight as more vaccine supplies come on stream by the end of the month’.
It added that pharmacies capable of delivering large volumes of vaccines, while also allowing for social distancing, had initially been selected to ‘give the best geographical spread’.
‘A moment of hope’
Simon Dukes, PSNC’s chief executive, said: ‘It is fantastic to see the first community pharmacy Covid-19 vaccination sites going live this week and we look forward to seeing more pharmacies involved in the programme in due course. We know that patients will value this and that pharmacies can make a significant contribution to the national vaccination efforts.’
Mark Lyonette, NPA’s chief executive, said community pharmacies had been eager to participate in the programme and will have a ‘key role’ in achieving widespread uptake.
He said: ‘We are proud that NPA members – who have been on the health service frontline throughout the pandemic – are joining this great national effort to defeat the virus.
‘This a proud moment for community pharmacy and a moment of hope for all. We look forward to working with the NHS on the further mobilisation of pharmacies, right across the country.’
Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp), said she was delighted to see a number of their numbers approved as sites.
‘This demonstrates the sheer determination and willingness of pharmacy teams to support the rest of the NHS to vaccinate the nation,’ she added.
We are confident our members will not only deliver to target but exceed the expectations with efficiency and the minimum of disruption to patients.’
Vaccine delivery plan
This follows the Government’s publication of its vaccine delivery plan on Monday (11 January), which outlined the role of community pharmacies in the vaccination programme.
The document said: ‘Community pharmacy sites will start to deliver vaccines from mid-January, offering bookings through the National Booking Service. This will help improve access through primary care to as many of the population as possible.
‘The early community pharmacy sites will be able to offer significant numbers of appointments. Community pharmacies are integral parts of local communities and will be accessible and approachable places from which to deliver vaccination.’
Health secretary Matt Hancock said today: ‘Pharmacies sit at the heart of local communities and will make a big difference to our rollout programme by providing even more local, convenient places for those that are eligible to get their jab.’
He added: ‘Pharmacists have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, often acting as the first port of call for medical advice – and often staying open when all around have closed. I want to extend my thanks to every pharmacy for their efforts to support the national response to the pandemic and keep people safe.’