Lloyds Pharmacy is one of the biggest community pharmacy chains in the UK with around 1,500 sites spanning the length and breadth of the UK.
Our pharmacy teams are experienced at administering vaccinations. Over the past six months, we’ve administered the flu vaccine to half a million people, and we regularly administer HPV and travel vaccinations The pharmacy sector has been providing a flu vaccine service for a number of years and during this time we have seen the steady growth in the number of vaccines being administered. In 20/21 the sector administered 2.6m flu vaccines in England on behalf of the NHS.
The community pharmacy sector was ready to play our part in the national COVID-19 vaccination programme and has been actively involved in discussions with the Government to discuss the ways we can help.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine makes it more feasible for community pharmacy to get involved because it’s easier to handle and administer meaning it can be kept in smaller quantities without the specialist frozen environment required to store the Pfizer vaccine.
This means that vaccines can be administered away from mass centres and closer to local communities - making a huge contribution to the national effort and helping to vaccinate many tens of thousands of people every week.
Hundreds of pharmacies across England were approved as designated sites and were required to commit to delivering 1000 vaccines per week. At McKesson UK our first pharmacy site went live in January. John Bell & Croyden pharmacy in London – which has remained open through two world wars and the Spanish Flu – has now vaccinated over 5000 people from its local community.
Pharmacists are an accessible and trusted healthcare provider and throughout the pandemic have shown we can help to maximise the efficiency of our healthcare system, be it through testing, increasing access to medicine, or vaccination.
The pandemic has also allowed pharmacists to show their true potential and allowed customers to find the real value of their local pharmacy.
The sector has been vocal in wanting to help, and if the criteria of 1000 vaccines per week was to be removed, that many more pharmacies can be involved,
In February, the NHS asked the community pharmacy sector to express interest if they are able to administer 400 vaccinations per week.
LloydsPharmacy has submitted a number of sites for this next phase in the vaccination programme and look forward to playing a more involved part vaccinating people at the heart of communities.
In the near future, we anticipate the need for people to access their vaccinations closer to home, community pharmacy, with a presence in every corner of the UK is vital to the next phase of the vaccination rollout. LloydsPharmacy alone could administer around 100,000 vaccines a week from multiple locations.
Our community pharmacy colleagues across the sector can deliver multiples of that. So there is a big role community pharmacy can play as a sector.
Superintendent Pharmacist, LloydsPharmacy