"Let's just get it done!" - South Shields MP signs Gazette's 'Shot in the Arm' petition

The MP for South Shields has signed a Gazette petition petition calling on the Government to boost the rollout of the national vaccine programme by involving the UK’s network of community pharmacies.

By Tommy Greene
Friday, 15th January 2021, 7:00 am

Emma Lewell-Buck urged borough residents to support the petition, which forms part of The Gazette’s ongoing effort to ensure local independent pharmacies are included in the nationwide Covid inoculation scheme.

The ‘Shot in the Arm’ campaign, which launched earlier this week, is quickly gathering pace. It aims to secure local vaccine provision via high-street chemists, which would mean that, instead of travelling 10 miles to a mass vaccination centre, residents would only have to travel 10 minutes down the road.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck's. Picture by FRANK REID

"I'm pleased to sign and share this important petition as we need to ensure that residents, especially the priority groups, can access the Covid vaccine urgently and as near to home as possible,” Mrs Lewell-Buck said.

“Our community pharmacies are trusted, trained and relied upon, they are ready - we should engage their services now to assist in this massive and critical programme.”

Along with Jarrow MP, Kate Osborne, Mrs Lewell-Buck has put Matt Hancock on the spot over the distribution of the vaccine supply earmarked for NHS staff at the borough’s hospital trust.

Earlier this week, the latter MP raised the Shot in the Arm campaign in Parliament.

She added: "It makes no senses at all that the Government want to wait until the next phase of roll out to allow all community pharmacies to vaccinate - let's just get it done!"

While no North East pharmacies were involved in day one of the new roll out, NHS figures suggested that 49% of of people aged 80 or above in the region, which is combined with Yorkshire for statistical purposes, had already received their first vaccine dose by January 10.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman insisted that “we’ve ensured that every area receives a fair share of the vaccinations and we will continue to do that”.

To sign our petition, which has already attracted more than 3,000 signatures, click here.

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