Coronavirus

PM says there is no doubt COVID vaccine targets will be met

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said there is “no doubt” the NHS will be able to vaccinate the first four priority groups by February 15.

That means 13 million people will have received the inoculation by the middle of next month, with all care home residents to have received it by the end of January. Three vaccines have received emergency approval for use in the UK.

However, Birmingham leaders have said they are due to run out of stocks and have not received any more supplies.

It is thought that more than 700 local sites will administer the Oxford jab and from next week, high street chemists will start to offer shots of it too.

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Robbie Turner, director of pharmacy at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: “We are going to see pharmacies playing a really big role in vaccination.

“The numbers of shots that can be delivered will be significant compared with the total number being delivered from sites that are already in operation.”

High street pharmacies already play a large part in helping to vaccinate people with the flu jab so they already have the training and equipment to handle the new immunisations.

Mr Turner said: “The impact of COVID is most acutely felt by people in disadvantaged communities and these pharmacies are at the heart of the community, often in some of some of the most deprived neighbourhoods

“If we’re going to reach the people we need to reach, we need to work out how we can use community pharmacies that are not necessarily able to deliver 1,000 vaccines a week, but can still offer tens of vaccines to the people in those communities.”

Meanwhile, the British Medical Association is urging every GP practice across the country to join in with the vaccination effort.

Dr Richard Vautrey, the chair of the organisation’s GP committee, said: “There are about 8,000 GP surgeries in the UK. Any one of them that wants to be able to roll out the vaccines should be enabled to do so, in order to meet the government’s very ambitious target.”

An NHS spokesperson said: “Pharmacies are already working with GPs to deliver the vaccine in many areas of the country. As more supply becomes available, community pharmacists able to administer large numbers of vaccine will play a role in the NHS’s phased vaccination programme, the biggest in the health service’s history.”

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