Some pharmacies have only received ‘a fraction’ of the Covid booster vaccine supply that they have ordered, a pharmacy leader has said, but NHS England has denied there are issues with supply.

Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp), told The Pharmacist that pharmacists have reported that ‘they’ve only been getting a fraction of what they’re ordering’ after placing orders for booster vaccines.

She continued: ‘[This] makes a lot of people worried that when patients come in, they will not have the supply and may have to turn patients away, which is definitely something we don’t want to do.’

However, following an article on Sunday in The Telegraph about the issue, Ms Hannbeck said she has been contacted by bosses at NHS England who said that there was enough vaccine supply and that they would ensure that pharmacies get the right and fair allocation.

An NHS spokesperson told The Pharmacist: ‘There are no issues with deliveries and vaccination sites across the country will be rolling out the new bivalent vaccine as quickly as possible, with boosters in care homes starting today [Monday] and more widely the week after.

‘There are no stock caps placed on individual vaccination centres, and regional and ICS teams work closely with sites to ensure available doses are distributed fairly based on local population and eligibility.’

Ms Hannbeck emphasised the importance of pharmacies being able to deliver every booster required, both in terms of patient care as well as the reputation of local pharmacies among their communities.

She said: ‘Covid vaccination a lot of times puts pharmacy on the map with the public. And what we don’t want to happen is to look bad for things that are out of our control. If you are to deliver a service – and we would very much like to do that – then you have to have the means to do that.’

She also highlighted that many pharmacies will have invested in the workforce to deliver the booster programme, such as by contracting vaccinators and transforming premises, amid increasing financial pressures on pharmacies and a reduced fee for providing the Covid vaccinations this year. ‘If they’re not getting the stock, what’s the point?’ she added.

Covid boosters and flu jabs are being offered to those aged 50 and above this autumn, as well as care home residents and staff, frontline health and social care workers, 5 to 49 year olds who are clinically at risk and household contacts of people who are immunosuppressed.

However, pharmacies which deliver the Covid vaccination will be paid £10.06 for each vaccine they administer – over £2 less than they were paid for previous stages of the vaccination programme.