The Company Chemists’ Association today welcomes the opening of additional Covid-19 vaccine sites run by community pharmacies, and calls on the NHS in England not to delay using more of them to provide the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
A total of 65 new vaccination sites run by community pharmacies will go live today, including additional sites operated by two of the CCA’s members, Boots and Superdrug.
Commenting on today’s news, Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive of the CCA, said: “We welcome the addition of new community pharmacy sites to the Covid vaccine programme. However, the sites that are involved so far are the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms of how the community pharmacy network in England could be mobilised to protect their local communities against Covid.
“We are urging the NHS to fully use the existing network of community pharmacies as part of the vaccine programme.
“The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine requires similar storage and administration to the annual flu vaccines which community pharmacies have a track record of providing safely and at scale. We are confident that they could deliver more than 15 million jabs with this vaccine by the end of June.
“Using the established network of pharmacies would bring the vaccine into local communities, meaning older people and those in at-risk groups can be vaccinated much closer to home.
“We have shared a model with the NHS that will allow them to make use of pharmacies across the country to vaccinate the population and reach the target of 13.9 million vaccinations by mid-February. We very much hope that this model will be ready to be deployed as further supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are available. However, time is not on our side and we therefore need decisions to be made soon about how this could work.”