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First Welsh pharmacy to offer COVID vax extends service to 4 branches

Pharmacist Steffan John began administering COVID-19 vaccinations on January 15
Pharmacist Steffan John began administering COVID-19 vaccinations on January 15

The first contractor in Wales to offer COVID vaccinations has been commissioned to extend the service across his four pharmacies, following a successful pilot.

Fferyllfa H L Taylor Pharmacy in Llanbedrog, north-west Wales, began administering COVID-19 vaccinations on January 15, as part of a three-day pilot.

The service will now be offered from all four Fferyllwyr Llyn branches in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Llanbedrog, Nefyn, and Abersoch, Community Pharmacy Wales director of contractor services Judy Thomas told C+D last week (January 28).

The pharmacies’ superintendent Steffan John told C+D that during the pilot the pharmacies trialled different models of delivering the vaccines.

“We tried the single pharmacist model where the pharmacist did it on top of their normal duties, but [that resulted in] about 11 patients [being vaccinated],” Mr John explained.

“In our Ffestiniog branch, we did a trial where we used stock to support the district nurses, so we did home visits [resulting in] 21 patients [vaccinated] on that day. And in our fourth pharmacy, in Nefyn, they went to a couple of shelter accommodation sites just to mop up patients who couldn’t get to the surgery there,” he added.

The plan is to share vaccine doses equally across all four pharmacies, as soon as supply allows, with the aim of vaccinating around 50 people at each branch from the end of this week, Mr John said.

Commission pharmacy after flu success

In an “action list” – the content of which was shared with health and social services minister Vaughan Gething earlier this month (January 14) – CPW argued that all pharmacies that normally administer the flu vaccines should be “immediately invited” to take part in the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

All seven Welsh health boards have issued calls for expressions of interest from pharmacies to get involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, according to CPW.

The negotiator’s chair Mark Griffiths said the record number of flu jabs administered by pharmacy teams in Wales this season shows they can make a “significant contribution” to the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The 595 community pharmacies in Wales that participate in the flu service have so far inoculated 88,241 people, which is a 37% increase on the 2019-20 flu season total, CPW said.

This is “remarkable, especially considering the challenges of flu vaccine supply in November and the ongoing increased pressure on the network during the pandemic”, Mr Griffiths said in a statement.

“While recognising this vaccination programme will be complex and challenging, community pharmacy teams are eager to maximise their contribution to the rollout of the vaccine. They recognise that the delivery of the vaccine needs to be undertaken with urgency and determination and wish to be involved in vaccinating as many of the categories of people to be vaccinated as possible,” Mr Griffiths added.

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