Following a “successful trial” at the Pharmacy2U head office in Leeds last month, the online pharmacy is rolling out its drive-through flu vaccination service nationally from this week, it said in a joint announcement with St John Ambulance last week (November 18).
The first clinic will be in Preston, Lancashire from tomorrow (November 25) to Friday (November 27) and will be open 9am-6pm. Patients in other parts of England can already book appointments for clinics that will be offered in the coming weeks in Reading, London, and Bath.
More locations will be added “in the coming days”, Pharmacy2U wrote on its website.
Pharmacy2U pharmacists will administer the flu vaccines and St John Ambulance first aiders will provide on-site support at the drive-through centres.
“All team members will be wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment and conform to the highest NHS and COVID-19 standards,” the companies said.
The appointments will take approximately 20 minutes and patients will be asked not to leave their cars during that time, Pharmacy2U said on its website.
Vaccinations will be offered for free to patients who “meet the NHS eligibility requirements” but those who are not eligible can still get a flu jab by paying a non-refundable fee of £12.50.
Pharmacy2U said it cannot reimburse the cost of the vaccination to those who cancel or cannot attend their appointment, as the fee covers the site costs, its “donation to St John Ambulance for their time and equipment and the cost of our pharmacists and vaccine”.
Pharmacy2U superintendent pharmacist Phil Day said “this is a much-needed service for people up and down the country”.
“In a year that’s seen much devastating health news, we’ve worked extremely hard behind the scenes and through our partnership with St John Ambulance to be able to bring this offering to fruition to help our existing and new patients, and to help alleviate pressure from the NHS,” he added.
St John Ambulance community operations manager Graham Ellis said the charity’s first aiders will support pharmacists “to give patients their all-important flu jab, close to home and in a COVID-secure setting”.
Last month (October 8), Asda Pharmacy also announced it was introducing a drive-through NHS flu jab service, which patients can access from 13 Asda store car parks.
Distance-selling pharmacies can offer the national flu service, provided they fulfil the requirements for the provision of the service, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee has said in an FAQ on its website.