Boots and Well await final nod from NHS on COVID booster jab service sites
Boots and Well are preparing to support phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme but are waiting for NHSE&I to confirm the number of branches from which they will be able to offer the service.
Selected Boots branches will offer the COVID-19 booster jabs, “building on its delivery of nearly 800,000 first and second COVID-19 vaccinations since January 2021”, the multiple said in a statement yesterday (September 14). Well has also confirmed to C+D that it plans to offer booster jabs, pending NHS confirmation.
A Rowlands pharmacy spokesperson told C+D today (September 15) that the multiple is working with local health authorities “concerning COVID-19 booster jab sites”.
Number of participating pharmacies yet to be confirmed
It is not clear at this stage how many community pharmacies will be selected to participate in the COVID-19 booster programme.
However, Boots has expanded the number of its branches that feature special vaccination hubs to almost 100 in preparation for both the booster and the flu vaccination programmes.
These dedicated areas – which were initially created to administer first and second COVID-19 vaccination doses – will offer either flu or COVID-19 vaccinations, or both, Boots said.
Pharmacies “that will offer COVID-19 boosters will be confirmed soon following discussions with the NHS,” Boots specified.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Well told C+D today that the multiple is also “working to support phase 3 of the programme and plan to deliver COVID-19 booster jabs” alongside the flu vaccination service in “selected pharmacies… where operationally practical”.
“Following confirmation from the NHS, we will share the full list of pharmacies that will be offering these important healthcare services,” the spokesperson added.
NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) was unable to share the number of pharmacies that will participate in the phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Increased demand for flu jab service
Bookings for Boots’ Winter Flu Jab Service have increased by two-thirds (67%) compared to 2020, with over one third of appointments at Boots already reserved for pre-booked private and NHS patients.
Rowlands is also “expecting and preparing for increased demand this year for flu vaccinations”, it told C+D.
Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing yesterday, Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation Professor Wei Shen Lim encouraged all eligible patients to get the flu jab.
He said “it is safe” to have both the COVID-19 booster vaccine and the flu jab administered on the same day but added that the NHS needs to consider the “practical reality” of co-administration.