Life-saving coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations will begin to be delivered at high street pharmacies in Bristol and Weston-super-Mare from today as the NHS accelerates the biggest vaccination programme in its history.
Superdrug in Broadmead, Bristol and Locking Pharmacy in Weston-super-Mare will be among the first of hundreds of community pharmacies to offer vaccinations protecting against Covid-19. Pharmacists from the Locking Pharmacy will be delivering the vaccination the Locking Parkland Community Facility ‘The Radio Wing.’
Two hundred community pharmacies are due to come online over the next fortnight, including more in the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire area in the next two weeks, as more vaccine supplies come on stream by the end of the month. Stores capable of delivering large volumes while allowing for social distancing are initially being selected to give the best geographical spread.
Anyone in the highest risk groups who does not want to travel to a pharmacy or to a large-scale vaccination centre can wait to be called by their local GP.
Dr Tim Whittlestone, Clinical Lead for the NHS mass vaccination programme in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire said:
The commencement of pharmacies offering the Covid-19 vaccination is a really positive step and will help us to reach more people in the area by offering another way for people to access the vaccine close to where they live. Pharmacies within the BNSSG footprint are now represented in our daily Clinical Delivery Group meeting. In so doing we can all share in the common goal of vaccinating the majority of our population in the shortest possible time.
We are very proud of and grateful to all our local pharmacists who have been doing an amazing job to support their communities throughout the coronavirus pandemic. They have worked tirelessly to continue to provide healthcare advice on minor illness and injuries as well as supplying prescriptions and medications. This in turn supports our wider network of healthcare professionals in GP practices and hospitals by easing pressures on primary care and emergency care services at this very busy time.
Vaccinations are now being offered at 19 GPs sites across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, two hospital hubs and Ashton Gate - the super vaccination centre which opened last week.
NHS England and NHS Improvement South West Chief Pharmacist Stephen Brown said:
It’s great to see the first community pharmacies in the South West delivering these life-saving vaccinations, bringing the vaccine out to more places in local communities, making the vaccine more accessible.
Pharmacies who have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic will now play a vital role in delivering the vaccination, supporting the national drive to protect the nation from the virus. Pharmacies are well-versed in supporting NHS immunisation programmes and will build on their expertise of providing a safe, efficient service as they do with the flu vaccine every year.
Richard Brown from Avon Local Pharmacy Committee added:
It is fantastic that community pharmacies will be joining the fight against COVID-19 by standing up our first vaccination sites. I hope this will be the start of many more sites to ensure that community pharmacy continues to play a vital role in protecting our nation.
People invited to make an appointment through the new national booking service will be given a choice between a vaccination centre or a pharmacy service. You can choose the site most convenient and accessible to you or wait to be contacted by your GP.
It will not be possible to use the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service if you have not received an invitation letter.
It will also not be possible to get a vaccine at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy without an appointment. Doing so risks disrupting the work of NHS staff in protecting those at highest risk.