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Boots first UK multiple to offer private COVID jab after indies led charge

The multiple will offer private Pfizer vaccines for “32% more” than independent pharmacies, C+D has learned.  

Boots will launch a private COVID-19 vaccination service in over 50 stores in England from the beginning of April, it told C+D yesterday (March 26).

But pharmacies have been able to sign up to offer the UK’s first private COVID-19 vaccine with pharmacy service provider Pharmadoctor since February, C+D exclusively revealed last month.

And the “first UK patient” received a private COVID-19 vaccine at a Dears Pharmacy in Scotland earlier this month (March 7), Pharmadoctor told C+D.  

Boots said that individual stores will release appointments for April from this week.

The single-dose Pfizer vaccine will cost patients £98.95, which covers the cost of the vaccine and other operational costs, Boots told C+D.

It said that the private service will only be offered to patients aged 12 or over and do not meet the NHS criteria for a free vaccination.

And it stressed that some Boots stores offer free vaccines “on behalf of the NHS” – with the multiple offering the NHS jab at around 25 stores in England currently and hoping to expand this from the autumn.

 

Boots charging “a third more” than indies

 

Yesterday, Pharmadoctor chief executive Graham Thoms told C+D that “Boots are charging patients 32% more than [its] partner independent pharmacies for the same Pfizer vaccine”.

Last month, the company said that the vaccine costs patients “approximately £75” at Pharmadoctor pharmacies “due to it being significantly more expensive for pharmacies to buy”.

“Patients can still opt to wait until April to receive the Novavax vaccine for around £50 when it becomes available,” it said. 

Thoms added that Boots is “only offering” the private Pfizer vaccine at around 50 England stores “whereas Pharmadoctor partner pharmacies are offering the service in more than 150 pharmacies across the UK”.

And he said that Pharmadoctor yesterday “received one patient appointment booking every eight minutes” for its private COVID-19 vaccination pharmacy service.

Boots declined to comment.

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