Pharmacy Covid-19 vaccination involvement is a ‘no-brainer’

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has been the greatest challenge this country has faced for many decades, certainly this century. And with numbers of cases rising again, as of early January 2021, it looks like it is not going away.

 

The Prime Minister announced a new set of lockdown rules and regulations on January 4th which can be found here and Nicola Sturgeon earlier made a call for Scots to stay at home as lockdown tightened in Scotland. Meanwhile, in Wales, where they went into a new lockdown on 20th December, there was not much change. Northern Ireland is proposing that its “stay at home” order be given legal force.

 

The fast rollout and administration of the Covid-19 vaccine to as many people in the shortest time possible is now more essential than ever. And pharmacy organisations have been pushing for their members to be included in the logistics of this now.

 

Pharmacy, working alongside General Practice, would speed up the vaccination process dramatically.

 

Despite the ‘firebreaks’, ‘lockdowns’, the tier system and social bubbles; all of which have just confused the vast majority of the public, the rise in infection is happening all over again, nearly one year since Covid-19 was known to the world.

 

And what of the vaccination programme?

 

The MHRA has licensed vaccines to be given to patients, and the task to vaccinate the whole population is a mammoth undertaking. The numbers of vaccinators alone needed is akin to mobilising an army in peacetime.

 

This is not to mention the logistical supply issues with moving so many items around the country which need to be kept refrigerated. On day one of the delivery schedule, the first tranche of vaccines just did not turn up, despite the GP practices having patients ready to be vaccinated after working over the weekend to ensure enough people and space was ready to begin vaccinating.

 

The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme needs to be de-politicized and it cannot be left up to politicians to sort this out.

 

A central group of the devolved government representatives and organisers from Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England needs to get together to ensure joined-up thinking to deliver the successful outcome of the greatest challenge to the United Kingdom.

 

Pharmacy has a part to play in all of this, as does the Armed Forces and Dentists, all of whom have the training and expertise to ensure the population is vaccinated as quickly as possible. And all these groups also have the facilities to store and administer the vaccine safely.

 

Pharmacy especially should be involved. There is a growing clamour from the pharmacy sector for them to be utilised further in the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme including this call to action from Ian Strachan, owner of Strachan’s Pharmacy Group:

 

 

Access this LinkedIn post here.

 

Chief Pharmacist at Co-Op health Neil Stewart commented:

 

 

Access this LinkedIn post here.

 

Bharti Patel, Managing Director at Avicenna Limited added:

 

“In my view I really do not understand why pharmacy isn’t seen alongside GPS as a primary care vaccination provider. We always seem to be an afterthought. So pleased to see Tony Blair recognise pharmacy as a critical enabler to hit the weekly numbers.”

 

Jeremy Meader, MD Numark Group Sales & Marketing Director at PHOENIX Medical Supplies Ltd has made a strong call for Pharmacy to be included:

 

“Pharmacies across the UK have provided fabulous support to the local communities they serve in 2020. As we enter 2021 the UK’s 14,000 pharmacies are perfectly placed to support the rapid roll out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine. If each pharmacy performed 12 vaccinations a day (and many will be able to do significantly more) that would be 168,000 per day, that’s over 1 million vaccinations per week. Surely the Government and NHS should utilise pharmacies to support this national effort and finally provide long term sustainable funding to this key sector.”

 

And so, the pressure for pharmacy to be involved in the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine continues.

 

And finally, an offer from an unlikely source, the BrewDog CEO James Watt called out to both Matt Hancock and Nicola Sturgeon via LinkedIn:

 

 

Access this LinkedIn post here.

 

There is now a possibility that this offer will be taken up as BrewDog is now in “talks with the Minister For Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon”.

 

The sad news is that yet again red tape is getting in the way. Articles such as this one here from the BBC website explains that some potential vaccinators have been put off by the unreasonable amount of bureaucracy required to become a vaccinator.

 

The Primary Care landscape is evolving all the time, and the Covid-19 vaccine roll out offers yet another chance for the United Kingdom National Health Service to embrace new ways of working together as one unit, rather than squabbling over who does what and when.

 

This article was written by Greg Bull founder of the Dispensing Doctor Experts. You can contact Greg by clicking here.

 

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