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PDA reports rise in calls from pharmacists intimidated by anti-vaxxers

An increasing number of pharmacists are calling the PDA’s advice line to report episodes of violence and intimidation from anti-vaxxers, the union has said.

These types of incidents are becoming more common, with protesters reportedly gaining entrance to COVID-19 vaccination sites to oppose pharmacists’ immunisation efforts, the  Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) said in a statement this week (February 8).

“Pharmacists, staff, and members of the public have been subjected to verbal threats and intimidating behaviour. Protesters are often filming their actions to gain wider exposure,” the PDA claimed.

These episodes are causing “anxiety and distress” for the public and staff alike, the PDA added. It reminded employers of their responsibilities to keep personnel safe during working hours.

“The PDA is reminding members that their employers should regularly conduct risk assessments and have the appropriate measures in place to ensure the safety of staff and the public,” it wrote.


Read more: NHSE&I: Pharmacy COVID jab sites should adopt security plans against protestors


AIMp: “Unacceptable”


Association of Independent Multiple pharmacies (AIMp) CEO Leyla Hannbeck shared an example of what appeared to be a legal letter telling the recipient to cancel their vaccination sessions, which she said had been sent to some pharmacies operating COVID-19 vaccination sites.

Dr Hannbeck told C+D that this was a “typical example" of the "unacceptable" behaviours that AIMp members had faced "while caring for the wellbeing of the people in the communities around our pharmacies". 

NHS England and NHS Improvement has been approached for comment.

Pharmacy-led vaccination sites had already been targeted by anti-vaxxers last year. Thomas Bell Pharmacy in Cumbria was vandalised with anti-vax graffiti in July 2021.

Meanwhile in Hampshire, vandals glued shut the doors of Greywell Pharmacy’s COVID-19 vaccination site last December. 

Have you or your team be subjected to harassment and/or violence from patients in the pharmacy? Share your experience on the C+D Community



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