Following the news that COVID-19 vaccinations could be provided by the NHS from as early as next month, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Sandra Gidley said:
“Pharmacy teams are ready to support vaccination programmes against COVID-19 as and when new vaccines become available after safety standards are met. Pharmacy has a track record of delivering vaccination programmes across the healthcare system and must be involved in providing COVID-19 vaccines to enable the widest possible access for patients. We recognise the impact this could have on teams already stretched to capacity, but through collaboration with primary care colleagues, we can help ensure an agile and flexible approach to vaccine provision across the country.
“To protect the workforce, it’s essential that pharmacy teams have parity of access to the vaccination alongside other colleagues in the NHS. Pharmacy has played a central role in the pandemic and experienced enormous pressures on the frontline patient care, staying open throughout to provide medicines and advice. It is vital staff are in the first wave of those vaccinated to ensure the wellbeing of the workforce.
“We are meeting with the UK Government this week to discuss this issue and how pharmacists can be integrated into vaccine programmes in the future.”