Watch MP's message to Matt Hancock urging him to deliver on our 'Shot In The Arm' campaign

A South Tyneside MP has called on the Government to back the Gazette’s campaign to make covid vaccinations available within minutes of people’s homes in an open message to Matt Hancock.

The Government has pledged no one will be further than 10 miles from their nearest vaccination centre, but our campaign – backed by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society – calls for this to be cut to just ten minutes.

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Both Jarrow MP Kate Osborne and South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck have already backed the campaign, urging Ministers to allow the UK’s network of 11,000 local pharmacies to administer the covid vaccine.

Now Ms Osborne has sent an open video message to Mr Hancock urging him to get behind the campaign and bring community pharmacies on board.

"Today I was due to ask the Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock a question,” she said in video, posted on Twitter which tagged in the Minister.

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"Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to. But I wanted to say to him that the Shields Gazette, the South Tyneside-based newspaper, has launched their campaign, A Shot in the Arm, to push for already experienced staff in our community pharmacies to vaccinate people in our local area.

"This would mean that people would only have to walk up to ten minutes to get vaccinated instead of travelling up to 10 miles as he suggests.

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Jarrow MP Kate Osborne

"Will the Secretary of State then join me in congratulating them on this initiative and look into this possible avenue to ensure that vaccinations are made as accessible as possible, especially at a time when travelling long distances is not advised”

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But pharmacies around the UK are easily accessible to the vast majority of the population, and the introduction of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine makes the job easier for them as it does not have to be kept at very low temperatures to remain effective.

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The Royal Pharmaceutical Society says using community pharmacies could also ensure a further 1.3 million people could be vaccinated across the country each week.

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