Community pharmacies delivering the Covid vaccine in London administered over 5 million jabs last year, the latest figures from NHS England show.

A year since the first Covid vaccine was given at a pharmacy, there are now 230 pharmacies delivering the service across London.

Hassan Khan, superintendent pharmacist and owner of Cullimore Chemists in Edgware, the first pharmacy in London to give the Covid-19 vaccine, said it had been a ‘privilege’ for his pharmacy team to give the vaccine to so many people.

‘Pharmacies are at the heart of their local communities and are often the first port of call for medical advice. The strength of this relationship with local people has been invaluable in the national response to the pandemic,’ he said.

Sobha Sharma Kandel, senior clinical prescribing pharmacist and co-owner of Woolwich Late Night Pharmacy, London – which delivered its first vaccine exactly one year ago today – told The Pharmacist that the success of the programme had made her ‘proud to be part of the pharmacy profession’.

She said: ‘Our profession has been open access and on the frontline ever since the beginning of the pandemic. We have shown real strength and leadership in the face of many challenges and will continue so.’

Ms Kandel thanked her pharmacy team for their ‘hard work and dedication’ in delivering over 50,000 vaccines so far.

She added: ‘We are honoured to be able to contribute to our community in such an important way.’

Jeremy Wallman, London’s head of pharmacy commissioning, said: ‘Local pharmacies are convenient, known and trusted by their local communities.

‘From the very beginning of the vaccination programme, people have been able to get their vaccine locally thanks to the hard work of our pharmacy teams.

He added: ‘As the vaccination programme continues to gather pace, pharmacies continue to play a vital role. We have seen that people really appreciate having fully-trained healthcare professionals on their doorstep who are able to offer advice, guidance and reassurance.’

Last week, NHS England said that community pharmacies in England had administered 22 million vaccines in total from 1,500 sites.

Pharmacy-led vaccine sites across England have also delivered one-third of all booster vaccines, as more sites continue to be commissioned.

Last month, Pfizer’s chief executive said it is likely that repeat doses of the Covid booster vaccine will be necessary to maintain a high level of protection among populations.

However, this week, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said there was ‘no immediate need’ to introduce a second booster dose.

The recommendation follows data published by the UK Health Security Agency which showed that protection against hospitalisation among people over 65 remains at around 90% protection against hospitalisation among people over 65 remains at around 90% three months after a third vaccine dose.