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Pfizer director: Pharmacy should have greater role in vaccine strategy

Dr Gillian Ellsbury: The government should commit to an ambitious 10-year vaccination strategy
Dr Gillian Ellsbury: The government should commit to an ambitious 10-year vaccination strategy

Community pharmacy should have a greater role in any future vaccine strategy, the medical director of vaccines at Pfizer UK has said.

Speaking at a Westminster Health Forum policy conference last week (March 24), Dr Gillian Ellsbury said that it was “absolutely vital” that momentum from tackling the COVID-19 pandemic “is not wasted”, which is why “the government’s commitment to a refreshed and ambitious 10-year vaccine strategy is so important”.

That strategy should “apply lessons learned from the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme”, Dr Ellsbury said, including “making greater use of alternative providers, such as community pharmacy, to alleviate pressure on the system and improve access in the harder-to-reach communities”.

“It’s about making immunisation convenient and removing barriers that sometimes get in the way,” Dr Ellsbury added.

Any future vaccine strategy “should set clear and ambitious targets for all adult vaccinations, putting them on par with childhood vaccines”, she said.

When asked for more information on the 10-year vaccine strategy Dr Ellsbury made reference to, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told C+D: “There’s nothing for us to update on this right now.”

Dr Ellsbury continued: “I have no doubt that the pandemic has sharpened our focus on the importance of vaccination in keeping our nation well and protecting our NHS. It is clear that vaccination should be the bedrock of prevention, the bedrock of resilience. And this is where the opportunity lies.

“We must apply what we have learnt over the last year and harness the opportunity to set a vaccine strategy that boosts the health and wealth of the nation, and puts the UK firmly at the forefront of innovation.”

Are you or your pharmacy involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme? Share your experience on the C+D Community

Are you or your pharmacy involved in the COVID vaccination programme?

PARESH shah, Community pharmacist

I wonder how many pharmacies have been awardedcontracts for covid-19 vaccination program in the 2nd designation of 400 doses. Any figures ? May be C+D can look into this. I feel any pharmacy who can offer 400 doses per week should be allowed to offer this service. It is time all pharmacies had the opportunity to offer this valuable service in the communities.


Grace Lewis, Editorial

Morning Paresh,

The latest NHS figures show there are 325 pharmacy-led vaccination sites and there were just under 200 live as the second designation process was announced. So not the silver bullet we were all hoping for, but C+D continues to ask the question...

Kind regards,

Grace, C+D deputy and news editor

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