Community pharmacies certainly deserve our praise and gratitude
Dr Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of AIMP.
Dr Leyla Hannbeck
NADHIM ZAHAWI, the vaccines minister, recently posted on Twitter that over 500 community pharmacies have delivered over 5 million vaccines in England. He thanked their staff for their “fantastic efforts.”
The pharmacies involved certainly do deserve our praise and gratitude. There are now over 600 pharmacies around the country carrying on with their usual jobs, but also setting up vaccination centres in mosques, temples, gurdwaras, churches, village halls, sports centres or in their own pharmacies to protect their communities from coronavirus. Many of our members have been doing this and telling me how hard work, but how rewarding it has been.
As we accelerate the rate of vaccinations to curb the spread of the Delta variant, it is more vital than ever that community pharmacies continue to be deployed. Every town in the country has a high street pharmacy offering a local health service to people. Their opening hours are from early in the morning until late in the day, with many open on Saturdays. They’re staffed by qualified experts who know all the protocols and who vaccinate already and regularly against flu, pneumonia and other diseases and are there to provide health advice – often able to support without the need to see a GP or other health professional. They’re accessible by foot from many people’s homes or easily reached by car or public transport.
Critically, the Delta variant has been able to spread so quickly, in part, due to the relatively slow uptake of vaccines in some areas. Our pharmacies are at the heart of those communities. We know the people, we speak their language, their dialects, we can provide friendly reassurance. More than that, all pharmacists can talk to you about any concerns that you might have about the vaccine for yourself or your family members. It’s important that our communities are protected and our families can get back to normal lives without fear of passing on coronavirus to their elders. The NHS has produced lots of materials to support people in other languages and the patient leaflet.
In England, anybody 18-years-old and over can now get their Covid-19 vaccine. It’s also important for people who have had their first vaccine to get their second dose to get the best possible protection from the virus. Book through the NHS website – or by calling 119.
We are available and we’re ready to help.
(Dr Leyla Hannbeck is chief executive of AIMP, the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies)