Seventy-strong Knights Pharmacy chain has had two sites approved – one in Redditch and the other in Bishop Auckland – and is awaiting approval on one more branch, while MW Phillips Chemists – which has 43 pharmacies across the Midlands and South Wales – was given the go-ahead to open a mass vaccination site in Birmingham yesterday (January 7).
The first pharmacies approved to deliver the local enhanced service (LES) COVID-19 vaccination programme will begin administering vaccines from Monday (January 11), NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) confirmed in a letter dated December 28.
NHSE&I is currently “assessing 200 pharmacy-led sites lined up to start delivery of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in the coming weeks, with some pharmacy-led sites beginning vaccinations next week”, the commissioner told C+D yesterday.
The full list of 200 sites has not been published, but NHSE&I said it is prioritising those with high thoroughfare.
It is considering how more pharmacies can be involved in the coming days and weeks, NHSE&I added.
Mohammed Kolia, superintendent from Knights Pharmacy said: “I am tremendously proud of the team that has supported us getting to this stage, it has been a lot of hard work to ensure we met all the deadlines and assurances to receive approval.
“Throughout the organisation, we are not only excited but very proud to be able to assist in the national effort to fight COVID-19,” he added.
Jaswant Jeers, deputy pharmacy superintendent at MW Phillips Chemists, said the team are aiming to vaccinate 975 patients over four days.
“We put a call out to our branch teams and the response from our pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and non-clinical staff has been overwhelming. Everyone wants to do ‘their bit’ to help our fight against the virus.
“Local businesses and people [in the community] are offering to help us get ready,” he added.
How are the multiples involved?
Speaking to C+D earlier this week (January 4), Boots said it will “initially open three COVID-19 vaccination sites, based in Halifax, Huddersfield and Gloucester”.
“We have developed a model for COVID-19 vaccination that is aligned with our exceptional safety, clinical and operational standards,” Boots said.
“We stand ready to do much more and our national network of pharmacy expertise is prepped to support the NHS and the government to accelerate the rollout of the vaccine.”
Superdrug said it is “in discussions with the NHS regarding [our] nurses and pharmacists administering both of the approved COVID-19 vaccines”.
“Initially, five key Superdrug locations, situated in the north and south of England, are being considered to deliver the COVID-19 vaccination service,” the multiple added.
On the first day of the rollout of the recently approved Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, Well pharmacy superintendent Janice Perkins told C+D that the multiple hopes community pharmacy “will play an active role in this historic immunisation programme”.
Well did not confirm if and how many of its branches have been approved to start vaccinating.
A Rowlands spokesperson told C+D that the multiple is “discussing with the government what role they expect us to play, but we are ready, willing and able”.
Lloydspharmacy also put forward some sites to NHSE&I to help with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, the multiple told C+D, but it did not confirm whether its branches had been given the go-ahead.
Earlier this week, C+D reported that Pharmacy2U could use 50 Morrisons supermarket car parks to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.
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