‘We already do flu jabs, just let us do it’ - South Tyneside pharmacist backs 'Shot in the Arm' covid vaccine campaign
A community pharmacist has backed the Gazette’s Shot in the Arm campaign urging the Government to allow pharmacies to give the covid jab.
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which is also backing the campaign, says using community pharmacies could ensure a further 1.3 million people could be vaccinated across the country each week.
This would see the UK’s 11,000 pharmacists vaccinating an average of 20 people per day, six days a week, boosting vaccination capacity as the UK battles the pandemic.
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Pharmacists have been administering the flu jab for many years and are trained to give a variety of injections. They have been allowed to help with covid jabs in the community, but only in a limited way.
Harry Scott, pharmacist at Edinburgh Road Pharmacy on the Scotch Estate in Jarrow, is among those who say they are willing and able to help rollout the covid vaccine.
“There’s a real appetite for this. Community pharmacy is really enthusiastic to get involved with this,” he said.
“I think if we can give people the flu jabs, then yes, why not the Covid vaccine too? We can do that as well. We’re more than competent.
“We’re given thorough training to do all sorts of injections. So just let us do it.”
All three hubs will administer both the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.
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 only requires a single initial dose, the second coming up to 12 weeks later.
It is also easier to store as, unlike the Pfizer/BioNTech version, it does not have to be kept at very low temperatures to remain effective.
The Gazette is urging Health Secretary Matt Hancock to allow members of the public to call in at their local pharmacists, to shorten the national queue and help the Government to reach its stated target of 15 million vaccinations in the UK by mid-February.