Asda has today (January 28) become the first UK supermarket to launch Covid-19 vaccination in an in-store pharmacy.
The pharmacy in the Asda branch in Cape Hill in the west midlands began immunising patients today using the Pfizer vaccine. The site is running seven days a week from 8am to 8pm, with a second Asda site in Watford to come online shortly.
The supermarket chain says it has also offered NHS England & Improvement the use of its pharmacy staff and and all 238 in-store pharmacies to help roll out the Oxford vaccine, which has less stringent storage and transport requirements.
Asda superintendent pharmacist Faisal Tuddy said: “Many of the people who will attend the store today have been shielding at home for months and we hope receiving the vaccine is the first step towards a return to normality for them.
“We are also stepping up our support for the NHS by opening up a second in-store vaccination centre next week and have offered all of our 238 in-store pharmacies across the UK, along with our logistics network, to help with the rollout.”
Roger Burnley, Asda CEO and President, said: “We are incredibly proud to provide this service and are keen to do all we can to help the NHS and Government accelerate the rollout of the vaccination programme.
“We have an extensive nationwide logistics network that could support the storage and distribution of the vaccine and our highly-trained pharmacy colleagues are experienced in delivering large vaccination programmes, having recently provided nearly 200,000 flu jabs to members of the public. We are on hand to provide the NHS with any practical support required so that more people can quickly receive the vaccine.”
The Cape Hill pharmacy is one of 46 pharmacy-led vaccination sites commencing operations today, bringing the current total to 117 with more pharmacies to join the vaccination programme in the coming weeks.
Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies (AIMp) commented on the rise in pharmacies vaccinating patients against coronavirus: “I’m very pleased to see that 40 pharmacy-led vaccination sites are going live today and more are in the pipeline for next week.
“We have been very keen to highlight to the Government and colleagues in NHSE that the community pharmacy network is willing and able to help with this historic programme and we are committed as a sector to working with the Government and colleagues in NHSE to make this happen.”