MPs call for community pharmacies to be able to give Covid jabs

MPs are calling for community pharmacies to be able to provide Covid jabs after meeting Black Country pharmacists. They believe high street pharmacies are trusted by their local customers, and are best able to persuade vulnerable people, many from minority communities, to have the jab. 

Shadow Mayor of the West Midlands Liam Byrne MP and John Spellar MP for Warley met the Sandwell Local Pharmaceutical Committee which represents the borough’s eighty- seven pharmacies. 

Sandwell’s pharmacists revealed that they are being inundated with calls from customers asking for vaccinations and advice about Covid treatment. Many customers are already familiar with popping in for their annual flu jab when out shopping and are bewildered that they are not able to get the Covid jab on the high street.

The pharmacists said they could vaccinate 20 to 30 people a day. Across Sandwell that would mean up to 17,000 jabs a week, across the Black Country and Birmingham as many as an extra 150,000 people a week could be protected.

Shadow Mayor Liam Byrne said “It’s ridiculous that as the country is crying out for a speedy roll out of the vaccinations, pharmacists are being overlooked. They have the expertise and the trust of their customers. 

“Using community pharmacists to administer the coronavirus vaccine would dramatically cut the time it takes to get everyone vaccinated and see the nightmare of the lockdown lifted much earlier.

"I can understand that they are unable to provide those vaccines needing to be stored at very low temperatures, but they can certainly cope with the Oxford vaccine which can be stored in standard fridges.

John Spellar added that “In many parts of the Black Country pharmacists are the face of the NHS, especially among minority ethnic groups, which are proving to be among the more difficult to contact with Covid information and vaccination.

"We need to understand that Covid will be with us in various forms for many years. There will be variants and mutations over time and it’s likely that annual vaccinations will be needed just as it is for flu. Now is the time to involve our community pharmacies."

During the meeting, Dev Dalvair, Chair of Sandwell Local Pharmaceutical Committee, representing all 87 Sandwell pharmacies, and runs D R Dalvair Pharmacy on Bearwood Road in Smethwick said “Pharmacists realise that people are desperate to get over this crisis. 

"We have kept our doors open throughout the pandemic. We have worked under increased strain to ensure patients continued to receive quality services and advice within easy access from where they live, work, and shop.

"The government should resource pharmacists better and needs to understand that we already play an important part in healthcare. We are trusted, willing and able and we can provide information and reassurance on every high street. This will increase the capacity of the NHS vaccination effort,” added Mr Dalvair.

ENDS

For further information: 
Contact David Hallam 07939 378055