- 08 January 2021
- 4 min read
Should The Government Be Doing More To Utilise Pharmacists For COVID Vaccination?Subscribe To Advice
An offer from pharmacies to help with COVID vaccinations has been ignored by the Government, according to senior industry leaders.
Government ministers have been told there are thousands of trained vaccinators at pharmacies including Lloyds and Boots ready to help deliver COVID vaccinations.
Is this something that should have been organised as soon as the vaccines were approved? Comment 💬 Like ❤️ Reply 🙂 below.
Simon Dukes, the chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Negotiating Services Committee, which represents high street pharmacies, said there are approximately 11,400 pharmacies across the country that are already administering millions of Flu jabs every year.
These pharmacies have the capability to vaccinate around 1.3 million people against COVID every week.
Do you think the NHS and Public Health England be able to organise supplying vaccines and the necessary PPE to other bodies in addition to their own vaccination centres?
Mr Dukes told the Telegraph: “Rather than scrabbling around trying to find retired GPs and nurses and anyone who has possibly dated skills, you’ve got an army of thousands of pharmacists up and down the country who administer the flu jab every winter.
“We’ve been telling the NHS that we’re ready…and desperate to help. But we’ve been met by a de facto silence."
Does the recently highlighted NHS bureaucracy around becoming a COVID vaccinator mean a number of suitable candidates will be unable to perform the role in the timescale required?
He encouraged the NHS to ‘loosen its grip’ on the vaccine rollout and allow the private sector to carry some of the burden.
Will the likely pushback to more private sector involvement in health matters prevent a cohesive and effective collaboration?
Royal Pharmaceutical Society president Sandra Gidley told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “We are already used to delivering the flu vaccine. You have got an army of trained vaccinators who are ready, willing and able…”.
Arguably, the pharmacists' offer of help could be said to echo the situation in the early days of the pandemic when testing was just starting to be rolled out and private labs were overlooked by Public Health England and associated bodies, leading to months of delays.
Given that Public Health England is in the process of being abolished, do you think that the situation could have been anticipated?
There is also concern about the apparent lack of urgency in some of the Government’s vaccine rollout programmes.
At a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson insisted the vaccine would be rolled out "as fast as we possibly can".
However, it has emerged that there are five million doses of the Pfizer jab yet to be used, despite it being cleared over a month ago, and 3.5 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab held up waiting to pass the regulator's safety checks.
Given the complicated logistics involved in vaccine deployment, should the Government be looking to involve logistics professionals from industry and the military?
The UK will hit the "stretching target" of vaccinating almost 14million people by mid-February according to Nadhim Zahawi, COVID Vaccine Deployment Minister.
Mr Zahawi went on to insist that "every sector will play a part…", and specifically mentioned pharmacies, saying that after hospitals and GPs surgeries, "the community pharmacies and the independent pharmacy sector [will play a role] as well".
However, based on current figures, the Government is far from delivering the two million doses a week required in order to hit the total of 13.4 million people by mid-February 2020.
Do you think that the third lockdown will make on-time deployment of vaccines easier, if pressure on the NHS does fall?
Leaked documents reveal Public Health England decided not to work on Sundays to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to NHS hospitals, but according to an inside source, NHS Trusts expected PHE to move to a seven-day schedule once further vaccine supplies became available.
Encouragingly, NHS England announced this week that community pharmacies will start administering vaccines to patients in England from next Monday, beginning with three COVID vaccination sites at Boots stores in Halifax, Huddersfield and Gloucester.
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