Boots and Superdrug lead pharmacies in rollout of Covid vaccines on the high street

THE Covid vaccines will be available from high street pharmacies in England from Thursday.

Boots and Superdrug branches will be among those able to dish out the potentially life-saving jabs, NHS has said.

The first six pharmacies to give out the Covid vaccines

Six stores will start giving the jabs from Thursday, and up to 70 more will start taking bookings for next week.

More than 200 community chemists in the pipeline for the end of the month, the NHS said, as more supplies of the jabs arrive.

Boots in Halifax, and Superdrug in Guildford, will be in the first group to hand out the injections, alongside Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, north London, Woodside Pharmacy in Telford and Appleton Village pharmacy in Widnes.

The stores have been picked because they are capable of delivering large volumes of the medicine and allow for social distancing inside.

They are also geographically spread across the country, however some regions have missed out on the initial wave of pharmacy-led services.

Two additional sites in Huddersfield and Gloucester are planned to open in the coming weeks.

People will be invited by letter to get their vaccine, which is being rolled out to the population through priority ranking.

Once they have received their letter, they can log on to the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service, where they will have a choice between a vaccination centre or a pharmacy.

The pharmacies join the 200 hospitals, around 800 GP clinics and seven mass vaccination centres where jabs are already being handed out.

All together there are already more than 1,000 vaccination sites across the country.

Pharmacies such as Boots and Lloyds Pharmacy have promised to administer more than 1,000 shots each a week, the Guardian reports.

It is expected they will offer the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, which can be stored at fridge temperatures, and some will be able to give the Pfizer jab, which needs to be stored at -70C.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was “fantastic” that vaccinations would be available on the high street.

He said: “Pharmacies sit at the heart of local communities and will make a big difference to our rollout programme by providing even more local, convenient places for those that are eligible to get their jab.

“Pharmacists have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, often acting as the first port of call for medical advice – and often staying open when all around have closed.

“I want to extend my thanks to every pharmacy for their efforts to support the national response to the pandemic and keep people safe.”

Boots will start giving out vaccines from Thursday at selected stores

High street pharmacists are already involved with doling out flu vaccines every year.

Dr Bruce Warner, deputy chief pharmaceutical officer, said pharmacists will play “a vital role in delivering the life-saving jabs to those in their communities”.

Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi echoed his thoughts and said: “I am really pleased to see them coming on stream to help with the national vaccine roll-out effort.”

The NHS has been tasked with the largest vaccination programme in history.

And it has just 39 days to reach the Government’s target of vaccinating 13.5 million of the most vulnerable Brits by mid February.

These top priority groups, set by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), include the over 80s, care home residents and their carers, NHS staff, those over 70 and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

This map reveals coronavirus vaccines sites across the UK, as more Brits gear up to have the jab.
The pharmacies join the 200 hospitals, around 800 GP clinics and seven mass vaccination centres (pictured) where jabs are already being handed out

So far, three vaccines have been approved for use in the UK.

Around 2.4 million people in the UK have received their first dose – the large majority with the Pfizer jab which was approved in early December.

A vaccine developed by Oxford, but manufactured by AstraZeneca, is now also being rolled out in the UK after approval at the end of December.

And Moderna’s vaccine was approved last week. However supplies won’t be available until the spring.

The Oxford vaccine was rolled out to GP-led services from last week. It is easier to transport and get to care home residents, too.

All adults will be offered a Covid vaccine by the autumn, the Health Secretary has vowed.