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Pharmacists give COVID vax to more than 400 housebound people in 1 day

Pharmacist Louise Lydon preparing to vaccinate housebound patients in South Tyneside
Pharmacist Louise Lydon preparing to vaccinate housebound patients in South Tyneside

A pharmacist participating in an initiative to vaccinate housebound patients against COVID-19 has told C+D it’s “the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my pharmacy career”.

The “pioneering” new project in South Tyneside sees local pharmacists give up their weekends to vaccinate patients registered as housebound with their GP practice, in their own homes.

As part of the initiative, which launched last weekend (January 23) and uses the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, a team of 22 community pharmacists will visit around 1,500 housebound patients to immunise them against COVID-19 over the next four weekends.

Speaking to C+D today (January 25), following the first Saturday of vaccinations, Louise Lydon, a pharmacist in Jarrow, South Tyneside and secretary of Gateshead and South Tyneside local pharmaceutical committee (LPC), said it had been “absolutely brilliant”. “It’s definitely the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my pharmacy career,” she added.

Sami Hanna, another pharmacist involved in the project, and the Gateshead and South Tyneside LPC communications officer, said he thought the first weekend of vaccinations had been “brilliant and well-organised”, with “a real buzz about the place”. It felt like “a magnificent achievement”, he added.

More than 400 vaccinations were administered during the first day of the initiative, Ms Lydon confirmed to C+D.

Asked if pharmacists were concerned about overworking themselves, Ms Lydon said it is “not a problem for us to work to get these vulnerable people vaccinated”.

“We really, really want to see…the most vulnerable, the housebound” in the local population, people they “deal with day after day” receive the vaccination, she commented.

“It’s sustainable because its only for a short period of time; its three to four weekends,” she added. There was “overwhelming gratitude and hope” from patients at receiving the vaccine, Mr Hanna said.

“They were just really happy that this was happening and I felt quite privileged to be in a position to make this happen. People want that vaccine and they just want to get back to normality. It was quite an emotional day."

Local healthcare network working together

Ms Lydon explained that she suggested the idea for community pharmacy to get involved in off-site vaccinations at a meeting of the local flu board – which had since become a COVID-19 vaccine board and comprises LPC and primary care network (PCN) representatives, as well as “GP colleagues”. Within two weeks of the suggestion being made, it had become a full service.

The initiative sees local GP practices provide  a list of housebound patients, who have  been arranged into clusters to minimise travel for the pharmacists. Carers who find it difficult to leave the house because of their caring duties are also able to receive the vaccine through the project.

Pharmacists can be identified by an NHS ID and are already registered vaccinators with the local PCN vaccination hub, which means they are are covered by NHS insurance, Ms Lydon said.

Dr Anji Curry, a GP in South Shields, described the project as a “unique approach” to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Would you vaccinate patients in their own home?

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

The GP surgery gets the vaccine adminsitration fee while the pharmacists are working for free. No wonder the NHS take us for mugs.

anti-depressed Pharmacist, Manager

Can we get conformation if this is being paid or done for free?

Do you see any Nurses or Consultants on the Covid wards working overtime for free? 

S M, Locum pharmacist

Very "rewarding" lol haha  all done for FREE. Basically 1 million clinical session for a price of none. Another charity work being glorified by tabloid news CD and clapped for by other charity working pharmacists. As long as pharmacists don't understand their worth, no one is going to pay up for the work and well-being. definition of modern slavery. "Pursuing people to voluntarily work for free". People keep adding work on top of their normal routine for free then wonder why they are at risk of burn out.

Wonder if it's that "Rewarding" why don't the doctors or nurses do it for free? 


TC PA, Community pharmacist

Your right, these do-gooders should have waited for a commissioned service before giving this potentially life saving vaccine to people who can't get out of the house.

Similarly, I'm going down to my local food bank to tell them that they are papering over the cracks in the welfare system and undermining the value of other food outlets.

Don't get me wrong, I'm the first person to criticise pharmacies who provide deliveries, MDS etc. all free on tap. But this is an exceptional circumstance, anything that speeds up the rollout of vaccines to this group of patients (whether paid or not) is a good thing in my view. These people have volunteered, it's not like it has been forced upon them in additon to their regular work.

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Remember that next time you're offered 20 quid an hour in a prescription factory !!


Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Must be commended. Such important work carried out for free. 

Axed Locum, Locum pharmacist

Well Planned, Well Executed, Well Done!



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