Pharmacy-led vaccine sites across England have delivered one-third of all booster vaccines, as more sites continue to be commissioned.
In an update, published this morning to mark one year since the first vaccine was delivered in a pharmacy, NHS England said that community pharmacies in England had administered 22 million vaccines in total from 1,500 sites.
Emily Lawson, NHS England vaccine deployment lead, thanked pharmacy teams for their ‘most extraordinary contribution to the success of the [vaccine] programme’.
‘You have done that, particularly over the last few months with all those winter pressures and the additional pressure that the omicron variant has brought to the programme.
‘The reach that community pharmacies have into local communities, the ability to work with volunteers to make sure those most at risk from the vaccine accessible right where they live as been invisible’, she said.
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.
Dr Keith Ridge, the outgoing chief pharmaceutical officer (CPO) for England, tweeted congratulation to the pharmacy profession and gave his ‘heartfelt thanks’ for the ‘staggering achievement, skills, dedication and contribution of community pharmacy teams to their local communities in the last year’.
Mark Lyonette, the National Pharmacy Association’s chief executive said pharmacy’s achievement was ‘staggering’.
He added: ‘The sector has made an outstanding contribution to the vaccination programme and is proud to be part of this remarkable NHS effort.
‘More pharmacies have put themselves forward and these should be processed speedily, with the immediate booster programme in mind as well as readying pharmacies for a future, ongoing role’, he said.