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DH won’t have COVID vax supply 'just sitting' in small pharmacies

More pharmacies will be involved as supply allows, Nadhim Zahawi said. Pic credit: UK Parliament

Pharmacies must be able to deliver 1,000 COVID vaccinations a week as the DH cannot afford to have supplies “just sitting” in the smaller pharmacies' fridges, a minister has said

Speaking during a COVID-19 vaccine update debate in the House of Commons yesterday (February 4), Labour Cooperative MP Rachael Maskell asked the vaccines deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi if the government would allow pharmacies to work together to administer “smaller volumes” of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Pharmacies currently participating in the COVID-19 vaccination programme have committed to delivering a minimum of 1,000 vaccines a week, which Ms Maskell argued “precludes many community pharmacies” to play their part in the national service.

Answering the question, Mr Zahawi said that “community and independent pharmacies have a significant role to play”.

However, he explained that the requirement for pharmacies to administer a minimum of 1,000 vaccines a week is necessary at this stage of the vaccination programme because “supply is finite and every dose matters”.

“We cannot afford for vaccines to just sit in a fridge in a smaller pharmacy,” he added.

“As vaccine supply begins to improve, we can look at bringing in more pharmacies. I want us to get to a stage, once we have done phase 1, where we are maybe able to be more convenient and where people can pop into their local pharmacy once supply allows,” Mr Zahawi said.

A further 62 pharmacy-led sites began administering COVID-19 vaccines yesterday, bringing the total of pharmacy sites participating to 194, according to a list of local vaccination sites updated by NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) today (February 5).

Speaking before the Health and Social Care Committee last month (January 26), NHSE&I CEO Simon Stevens said that “lots of high street pharmacies” will vaccinate working adults as supplies allow.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DH) announced earlier this week (February 3) that more than 10 million people in the UK received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Last month, C+D launched a petition urging NHSE&I to scrap the red tape and let more pharmacy teams across England pitch in with national COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Sign the petition here

Will your pharmacy offer the COVID-19 vaccination service?

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist


Everyone is supposed to be on an even playing field, everyone should have fair access to patient bases. Therefore premises size is taken out of the equation as it has nothing to do with the number of people than can be vaccinated in a day.

Foolish drivel

Although Mr Zahawi failed to mention how GPs are vaccinating patients out of cohorts to increase their profit while pharmacies that try to do this will have the service taken away.

I know pharmacists already vaccinating out of the cohort simply because the GPs are doing it. Response from the NHS CCGs was 'there is nothing we can do about the GPs'. Well I stick two fingers up at you and say to all participating pharmacists vaccinate whoever however whenever.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Typical. You forgot to add charging privately as well. 

N Locum, Locum pharmacist

I wouldn't be surprised if those "wasted" jabs are used for overseas customers who are willing to pay a premium for them. 

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

So how come GP surgeries don't have to guarantee this volume of Covid vaccinations. Some surgeries near us are just  giving a few AZ vaccines each week. One rule for one and one for another.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Ir is because your representative bodies are worse than useless. They only move to do anything  if the multiples(very occasionally independent conractors) need them to. When your rank and file pharmacist cries for help you all feign being deaf and mute.

You will note that these pharmacists are relatively non plussed with the chase for some of the covid19 vaccination revenue. This is for 2 simple reasons. They will see the sum total of zero of any revenue and they alone are expected to carry the workload with as little staff support as the employer can get away with. I trust that has gone some way to answering your question.

Mark Ashmore, Superintendent Pharmacist

Very true. I know of one surgery where vaccines were going out of date and the were scrabbling around trying to use them up.


V K P, Community pharmacist

not only are the 1000 jabs per week not delivered by the GP surgery on one occassion. they have only done 3000 over 5 weeks. thats 2000 jabs wasted. how is that any different to a couple of vials sitting in a fridge at a smaller pharmacy??? 

the smaller pharmacy would also show some grit and vaccinate for the second dose rather than let the dose go to waste.

Dear editor, are C+D able to request data of the wasted doses up to now and even better get data on how many doses were delivered to each site with how many administered successfully. the analysis of that data followed by factual presentation to the Minister would not leave any room for ambiguity or hiding for the politicians. hold them accountable publicly. that would get C+D hoards of publicity. What say??? 

Pharmacy Tech, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Where are you getting this information from? In the area I work in there has been no wasted vaccines as the sites have a reserve list of patients to call in at the last minute. Its not a case of showing grit and vaccinate the second dose, you can't give the second dose until 12 weeks after the first, you risk not being able to continue as a site if you do!

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Get serious. You're desperation for A slice of the cake is resulting in you losing grip of the reality.

N patel , Non Pharmacist Branch Manager


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