LloydsPharmacy has opened two Covid vaccination sites, after NHS England’s initial requirement of 1,000 jabs per week was lowered in certain cases.

The two new sites — based in Carterton, Oxfordshire and Cramlington, Northumberland — started vaccinating people in the local areas yesterday and will both be administering up to 400 vaccines per week.

Last month, in its second request for expression of interest, NHS England said those sites which could provide up to 400 vaccines per week would be considered in areas where a site offering 1,000 vaccines per week is ‘unlikely to be viable’, or where an additional site is needed.

Before the reduction in site requirements, LloydsPharmacy had one site commissioned by NHS England, situated in their John Bell & Croyden store in London.

According to the multiple, the vaccination site based in Carterton will administer vaccines in a consultation room in the pharmacy, while Cramlington will offer the vaccine in a special pod.

This comes after Toby Anderson, CEO of McKesson said the requirement for pharmacy sites to be able to vaccinate 1000 people per week should be dropped to 500 people on Radio 4 in January.

He said that this would mean thousands of more pharmacies could get involved in the programme.

Karen Bailey, site manager at LloydsPharmacy in Carterton, said it was a ‘privilege’ to now be ‘contributing to the national effort and to be a part of the solution to this pandemic’.

‘Our pharmacy is embedded in the local community and having a familiar face to administer the vaccine will make a big difference to patients who are perhaps nervous about travelling to larger vaccination sites that they’ve not been to before,’ she said.

‘It’s been a busy couple of weeks getting the pharmacy ready for the launch but the whole team is excited to be one of the first LloydsPharmacy teams involved.’

She added: ‘The light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer and we’re so proud to be helping protect people from this virus so we can all get back to seeing the people we love and doing the things we miss the most.’

Last week, community pharmacy vaccination services were told by NHSE to close unfilled bookings from 29 March and not upload any new appointments for April to the booking system ahead of a ‘significant reduction’ in supply.