South Shields MP highlights 'A Shot In The Arm' campaign in Parliament as we push Government to use more pharmacies in vaccine rollout
Our ‘A Shot In The Arm’ campaign has struck a success in getting pharmacies used to deliver the Covid vaccine – but we still want the Government to do much more.
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck raised our campaign in the House of Commons as she put a question to Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi.
The Labour member, and her Jarrow counterpart Kate Osborne, have backed the proposal to harness the skills of community pharmacists to administer the vaccine and help get life back to normality quicker.
The minister said 200 pharmacists are already part of the initial plans – but that is not enough. There are 11,000 pharmacies across the country ready to assist with the vaccine effort and we believe they should all be used.
That is why the Gazette and its sister titles are urging the Government to ensure more local community pharmacies are involved in the vaccination programme so that nobody is more than 10 minutes away from a centre, and not just ten miles away as PM Boris Johnson has said.
In a tweet sharing a video of her question in parliament, the South Shields MP she said: “Last night I asked the vaccine Minister in line with the @shieldsgazette campaign why he won’t allow ALL community pharmacists to help with the vaccine roll out.
“He dodged the Q claiming I was wrong, but did indicate they may be used soon.”
In the house, she said: “Throughout the pandemic, community pharmacies have never closed, they really have been some of our unsung heroes.
"The Shields Gazette, my local paper, have launched A Shot In The Arm campaign, and we want to know why the minister won’t allow all of these experienced and dedicated community pharmacies to deliver the vaccine?”
Mr Zahawi took issue with the question and said: “Community pharmacies are already part of the primary care network that are delivering the vaccine.
"I’ve also, in the strategy, made very clear there will be 200 community and independent pharmacies as part of the vaccination programme in phase one where we do need that volume, the throughput, those community pharmacies that can do the 1,000 vaccinations a week are very much part of that programme and we would thank them for that.
"But as we get to the next stage where we have vaccines in limitless volumes, then it is about convenience and ramping up the number of community pharmacies that can actually also join the fight against Covid.”