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Ministers accused of ignoring high street pharmacies in Oxford vaccine rollout

PIC: PA WIRE

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society president said there were thousands of high street pharmacies “ready, willing and able” to assist.

The Government has been accused of ignoring an “army” of small pharmacies in the delivery of the coronavirus vaccine.

Sandra Gidley said that under the Government plans some larger pharmacies were involved, but they had to be able to guarantee they could deliver at least 950 doses per day.

While that was necessary for the Pfizer vaccine – which is more complicated to handle – she said the arrival of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab meant it could be administered by much smaller units.

“We are already used to delivering the flu vaccine. You have got an army of trained vaccinators who are ready, willing and able to play and part,” she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“With the AstraZeneca vaccine there is no reason why that could not be delivered through community pharmacies.

“There are over 11,000 pharmacies. If each of those does 20-a-day that is 1.3 million-a-week extra vaccines that can be provided, very often to those who are hardest to reach.

“Why would any government not want to do that?”

Simon Dukes, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Negotiating Services Committee, said that using pharmacies would be far more effective than recruiting retired medics, as the Government was trying to do.

“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,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

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