Now get your jab on the High Street


Covid vaccinations will be available in some high street pharmacies from today.

The injections are being rolled out at 200 locations over the next fortnight, both at the major chains and independent chemists.

Boots in Halifax and Superdrug in Guildford will be among the first six sites to administer the injections.

Yesterday, Asda announced it had been given the green light for pharmacy staff to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a branch in Birmingham from January 25. 

It will operate in a former clothing section seven days a week from 8am to 8pm for people who receive an appointment from the NHS.

Officials said each mass vaccination site must have capacity to deal with 1,000 appointments a day and allow for social distancing.  

It comes as Boris Johnson yesterday pledged to launch a 24/7 vaccination service ‘as soon as we can’ after bowing to immense pressure to ramp up the immunisation drive.  

The injections are being rolled out at 200 locations over the next fortnight, both at the major chains and independent chemists. Pictured: Vaccination centre at Boots in Halifax

Yesterday, Asda announced it had been given the green light for pharmacy staff to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a branch in Birmingham from January 25

Yesterday, Asda announced it had been given the green light for pharmacy staff to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a branch in Birmingham from January 25

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson said: ‘We’ll be going to 24/7 as soon as we can. And Matt Hancock will be setting out more about that in due course.’ 

No10 will run a pilot of round-the-clock vaccinations to gauge whether there is enough demand to keep jab hubs open through the night, according to senior Government sources.

But there are serious doubts over whether ministers can deliver the 24-hour scheme amid growing concerns over vaccine supply. 

Mr Johnson admitted in the Commons: ‘At the moment the limit is on supply.’ 

Around 2.6million people have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine across the UK so far, with just four and a half weeks remaining for the Government to hit its target of reaching the 15million most vulnerable. 

Matt Hancock hinted on Wednesday that problems in the supply chain were also behind the decision to slow down the roll-out of jabs in parts of the country. 

However, the Health Secretary said it was ‘fantastic’ that jabs were now available on the high street because they will make a ‘big difference’ to the rollout. 

He added: ‘Pharmacies sit at the heart of local communities and will make a big difference to our rollout programme by providing even more local, convenient places for those that are eligible to get their jab.

‘Pharmacists have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, often acting as the first port of call for medical advice – and often staying open when all around have closed.’

Also in the first six sites are Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Appleton Village pharmacy in Widnes, Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, north London, and Woodside Pharmacy in Telford.

The eventual 200 community chemists join seven mass-vaccination centres that opened this week, as well as 200 hospital hubs and about 800 GP sites.  

Vaccines will be given by appointment only, with people invited to choose either a mass-vaccination centre or pharmacy site through a national booking service. 

Matt Hancock said it was 'fantastic' that jabs were now available on the high street because they will make a 'big difference' to the rollout. Pictured: Boots in Halifax

Matt Hancock said it was ‘fantastic’ that jabs were now available on the high street because they will make a ‘big difference’ to the rollout. Pictured: Boots in Halifax

Around 2.6million people have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine across the UK so far

Around 2.6million people have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine across the UK so far

If neither is suitable, patients can wait to be contacted by their family doctor – but this could mean waiting a few more weeks as GPs work through their lists.

The Government needs to vaccinate around two million people a week if it is to reach the 14million most vulnerable people by February 15. 

Officials insist they are on track to meet the target but supply issues seem to be an issue, with fewer than 208,000 vaccines administered yesterday. 

The pharmacy industry had urged the Government to let them help – as they do annually with the flu vaccine.

Mark Lyonette of the National Pharmacy Association said: ‘Community pharmacists are eager to play their part in the Covid-19 vaccination programme, and as trusted healthcare professionals they will have a key role in achieving widespread uptake.’

Michael Henry of Superdrug said: ‘Today sees a significant step forward in making the vaccination more accessible to people most at risk from coronavirus as our pharmacists and nurses use their clinical expertise to deliver the vaccine.

Kelly Heney receives her coronavirus vaccination at the Depaul homeless shelter in Oldham, Greater Manchester, on Wednesday

Kelly Heney receives her coronavirus vaccination at the Depaul homeless shelter in Oldham, Greater Manchester, on Wednesday

Boris Johnson revealed the Government was preparing to roll out the vaccine 24 hours a day 'as soon as we can' at Prime Minister's Questions

Boris Johnson revealed the Government was preparing to roll out the vaccine 24 hours a day ‘as soon as we can’ at Prime Minister’s Questions 

‘Guildford is the first of five current Superdrug sites to support the NHS with the rollout of its critical vaccination programme and we are in active discussions for additional vaccination sites through further pharmacy involvement.’

Seb James of Boots said: ‘Our pharmacists are experts in vaccination programmes and have a trusted role at the heart of our local communities.

‘Pharmacies are extremely well-placed to support the rollout of this vaccine quickly and safely.’     

How the Government’s vaccine plan breaks down 

PHASE 1 (FEB 15 TARGET)

CARE HOME RESIDENTS – 300,000

CARE HOME WORKERS – 500,000

AGE 80+ – 3,300,000

HEALTHCARE WORKERS – 2,400,000

SOCIAL CARE WORKERS – 1,400,000

AGE 75-79 – 2,300,000

AGE 70-74 – 3,200,000

CLINICALLY EXTREMELY VULNERABLE (UNDER 70) – 1,200,000

PHASE 2 (SPRING)

65-69 2,900,000

AT-RISK UNDER 65 7,300,000

60-64 1,800,000

55-59 2,400,000

50-54 2,800,000

PHASE 3 (AUTUMN)

REST OF ADULT POPULATION 21,000,000 

The Prime Minister revealed ministers were planning to ramp up the vaccine roll out in response to a question from the opposition leader Keir Starmer on Wednesday.

‘I welcome news that has come out this morning about a pilot of 24/7 vaccine centres – I anticipate there is going to be huge clamour for this,’ he said.

‘So, can the Prime Minister tell us when will the 24/7 vaccine centres be open to the public, because I understand they are not at the moment, and when will they be rolled out across the country?’

At the session of PMQs, Mr Johnson added he would ‘not hesitate’ to impose tighter coronavirus restrictions if necessary.

‘We keep things under constant review and we will continue to do so,’ he said.

‘And certainly, if there is any need to toughen up restrictions, which I don’t rule out, we will of course come to this House.’ 

Mr Hancock said today the NHS was ‘absolutely up for’ giving out the jab 24/7, but added ‘most people want to get vaccinated in the daytime, and also most people who are doing the vaccinations want to give them in the daytime, but there may be circumstances in which that would help’.

Quizzed over reports that GPs are having to pause vaccinations to let other practices catch up, the Health Secretary told BBC Radio’s 4 Today Programme: ‘The rate-limiting step on the rollout is the supply of the vaccine itself. 

‘We are now managing to get that supply more than we have done before and it will increase over the next few weeks.

‘We have the capacity to get that vaccine out. The challenge is that we need to get the vaccine in.

‘What I know is that the supply will increase over the next few weeks and that means the very rapid rate that we are going at at the moment will continue to accelerate over the next couple of weeks.’

Around 2.6million people have received at least one dose of Covid vaccine across the UK so far, with just four and a half weeks remaining for the Government to hit its target of reaching the 15million most vulnerable.   

With just 33 days left to deliver on his lockdown-ending promise, around 11.5million over-70s, NHS workers, care home residents and workers, and adults with underlying conditions still need to be vaccinated — the equivalent of around 340,000 a day.

In a bid to speed up the sluggish programme, it emerged on Wednesday that easyJet cabin crew are being recruited by the NHS as vaccinators to bolster the rollout.

The airline wrote to the PM in November to offer 3,000 crew who are first aid trained, security cleared and based in every major UK city. 

Crew who apply will be fast-tracked to become trained vaccinators at NHS vaccination centres across the country and will undergo online training and onsite immunisation training to become fully-qualified in administering the vaccine. 

Matt Hancock hinted on Wednesday that problems in the supply chain were also behind the decision to slow down the roll-out of jabs in parts of the country

Matt Hancock hinted on Wednesday that problems in the supply chain were also behind the decision to slow down the roll-out of jabs in parts of the country 

EasyJet said: ‘As easyJet continues to operate a reduced schedule as a result of the pandemic, our furloughed crew has an ideal skill set to be able to assist in the effort to provide much needed inoculation support to the NHS in rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine.’

Katy Bryant who has been cabin crew for easyJet since 2005 and is based at Luton, added: ‘Like everyone, I’m incredibly grateful to our NHS and all frontline healthcare workers for all they continue to do for the country with the continued pressure they are facing from the virus, so when the opportunity came for cabin crew to assist the NHS as vaccinators I knew I wanted to apply.

‘As cabin crew we are in a great position to support the vaccination effort because of the first aid and safety-focused training we receive for our job, so I am sure I will be joined by many of my fellow cabin crew at easyJet who will want to support the NHS in the vital roll-out of the vaccine across the country.’ 

But amid reports of supply chain issues, Brigadier Phil Prosser, the head of military support to the coronavirus vaccination programme, warned of the huge logistical challenges involved in scaling up the rollout.

Appearing on BBC Breakfast, he summarised the challenge: ‘It’s an untested supply chain, brand new vaccines, the largest vaccination programme this country has ever delivered.

‘The amount of sites we’ve set up and the amount of vaccine we have to distribute … it’s complex by its very scale.’

Brigadier Prosser said the military were bringing ‘operational planning excellence’ and working ‘hand in glove’ alongside the NHS.

He said planning included ensuring the vaccine was distributed across the country, including ‘the hardest-to-reach cohorts, as well as those most at risk’.

He added: ‘This isn’t about keeping vaccine in the warehouse, it’s about getting it in the arms as quickly as possible.’ 

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