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73% of people would get their COVID-19 vaccination at a pharmacy

Nearly one in five (19%) said they were not planning on getting vaccinated against COVID-19
Nearly one in five (19%) said they were not planning on getting vaccinated against COVID-19

Nearly three-quarters of people would get a COVID-19 vaccine at their local pharmacy, a National Pharmacy Association (NPA) survey has found.

A large majority (73%) of respondents to an online NPA survey that ran October 29 – November 2 said they “definitely or might” get vaccinated against COVID-19 at a pharmacy once a vaccine becomes available.

However, nearly one in five (19%) of the 2,000 respondents said they were not planning on getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at all, while 8% would have the vaccination, but not at a pharmacy.

Commenting on the findings, revealed at the NPA Winter Conference earlier this week (November 9), NPA chair Andrew Lane said: “Community pharmacy can play a significant role in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, having already proven our capabilities in relation to the NHS flu vaccination scheme.”

The public also has a “high level of trust in their local pharmacists, which could be an important factor in overcoming doubts and misapprehensions about vaccines for COVID-19”, Mr Lane added.

The findings come as the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) last week (November 6) said it is pushing for a COVID-19 vaccination service in pharmacy “to have parity” with the one commissioned for GP practices, but before the announcement earlier this week about the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Also speaking before the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine announcement, NHS England and Improvement CEO Simon Stevens said last week (November 4) that a "combination" of providers, including pharmacists, would be involved in delivering COVID-19 vaccines.

70% of people visited pharmacy during the pandemic

Last week, NPA data also revealed that nearly 70% of people went to a community pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The vast majority (68%) of respondents to the online NPA survey said they had visited a pharmacy “at least once” since March. 

The data, published last week (November 6), also revealed that 35% of the public had gone to a pharmacy at least once since March due to their GP being unable to see them “as a result of COVID-19 safety measures” at the practice.

Of these, 42% saw a pharmacist for a minor illness, while 33% requested access to medicines and 15% went for health checks such as blood pressure.

Pharmacy “integral” to healthcare system

Commenting on the data, NPA vice-chair Nick Kaye said community pharmacy is “integral to a functioning system of primary care”.

People trust their local pharmacists and most people can get to a pharmacy within a matter of minutes, including in the most deprived areas,” he said. “That’s a level of access that is unsurpassed elsewhere in the health service.”

“While other parts of the health service have deemed it necessary to restrict the amount of face-to-face care they give, pharmacies have kept their doors open throughout the pandemic, including all lockdowns,” he added.

In a recent letter to community pharmacy teams last week (November 5), pharmacy minister Jo Churchill praised the sector for its work during the pandemic, saying it is now “better prepared” to deal with a second wave.

How do you feel about pharmacy's role in delivering COVID-19 vaccines?

On Break, Community pharmacist

I think it will be unlikely we can participate with the Pfizer vaccine for the reason you say. Perhaps if the other vaccines have normal cold storage requirements (i.e. 2-8C)  we can play a role.  Would it not be better to organise large vaccinating centres perhaps around existing hospitals that have -70C storage facilities already or utilise the Nightingale hospitals which are large enough to accomadate the staff and patients undergoing mass vaccination. They could probably higher a -70C mobile storage much like those mobile MRI units. 

Bob Dunkley, Locum pharmacist

Whilst it is gratifying that so many people put their trust in pharmacy to  be vaccinated  in a pharmacy, has no-one thought of the logistics of this? The Pfizer vaccine needs storage at -70degrees (I presume Centigrade) a bit lower than a dispensary fridge is capable of. From the BBC Radio 4 'Today' programme the other day, pharmacies were to be the holding places for the vaccine, ultimately to be shipped off to the GP.

I really do hope that pharmacy is allowed to show what it can do, I do, but I "..hae me doots!!"

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

And after all that you mention do you reckon the employees and pharacists will get a cut of any fees paid by DoH ?

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