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Pharmacies should do 'a lot more' vaccinations, says shadow health sec

Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has said that he believes pharmacies should be responsible for doing "a lot more vaccination".

Mr Streeting made the comments in an interview with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg on her Sunday morning political show this weekend (January 8).

“I think pharmacy should do a lot more vaccination”, he told Ms Kuenssberg.

But he added that he “can understand” that “of course there are GPs who say ‘hang on a minute, that’s a big part of our income, we don’t want to see other people doing vaccinations’".

He continued: “The vaccination programme is absolutely critical to our country.

Read more: Flu jabs: Pharmacies top 2021/22 record two months before end of season

“GPs, pharmacies and of course the huge jabs army of volunteers did a brilliant job on the vaccine roll out – something the government takes credit for but GPs, pharmacies and others delivered.”

C+D asked the Labour party to clarify whether this is something Mr Streeting would push for if Labour were to win the next general election and what kind of vaccinations he would like to see shifted from GPs into community pharmacy.

However, it did not respond to a request for comment.


Record flu vaccine delivery


It comes as C+D reported last week (January 6) that pharmacy teams in England had delivered 4,795,086 flu vaccines, surpassing the total number of jabs administered last year with two months still left of this year’s season.


Read more: Well offers free private flu jabs to all over-18s as hospital admissions rocket


And Well Pharmacy this week announced that it has made its private flu jab free of charge to all patients aged over 18 as hospital admissions “peak”.


Superdrug and Boots both announced a drop in the price of their private flu jabs to under £10 amid the spike in hospital cases, following in the steps of Asda and Well last month.



"Go-to place" for vaccinations



Last month, a think tank said that community pharmacy should be commissioned to deliver all adult vaccinations through National Enhanced Services.


Other suggestions from the think tank report were that 12,000 pharmacy students should also be asked formally to volunteer to administer flu and COVID-19 vaccines.


Meanwhile, the health secretary yesterday revealed that a new document on NHS recovery is set to detail government plans for pharmacies to take on “additional services”.


Read more: Primary care recovery plan: Barclay wants pharmacists to do 'even more'


CEO of the Association of Multiple Independent pharmacies Leyla Hannbeck said she hopes this could include services such as a national vaccination programme making pharmacies the “go-to place” for public health vaccinations.


And community pharmacy representatives have continued to lobby the government on behalf of the profession, with some attending an emergency NHS recovery meeting with the Prime Minister over the weekend.

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