Pharmacies across Portsmouth and Hampshire back campaign calling on government to use them for Covid-19 vaccine roll out
PHARMACIES have said they are ‘ready and willing’ to help with the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Lalys Pharmacy and Rowlands Pharmacy has backed a campaign by The News and its sister titles, calling on the government to use the network of pharmacies across the country to help deliver the coronavirus vaccines to more people and ensure everyone has local access.
Mr Baldev Laly, founder of Lalys Pharmacy which has branches in Guildhall Walk, Fratton, North End and Southsea, said that his staff are ‘ready and willing to help in any way they can’.
Currently there are 15 GP surgeries and health centres delivering the Pfizer vaccine in Portsmouth and south east Hampshire.
There is also a hub at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham and a supercentre is due to open at St James’ Hospital in Milton, in the next couple of weeks.
Mr Laly said: ‘If NHS decision makers decide they have both a vaccine and system that is compatible with distribution from high street pharmacies, we are ready and willing to help in any way we can.’The Oxford/ Astra Zeneca and Moderna vaccines have now both been approved in the UK with the former rolled out already in several hospitals across the country while deliveries for the latter are not expected until spring.
Mr Laly added: ‘Those who have been distributing the Pfizer vaccine in the city have done a fantastic job with a vaccine that has logistical challenges, but now other alternatives have become available, we can provide safe, secure environments with experienced staff if the wider healthcare system requires this.
‘It would be a similar procedure to how we have been administrating flu jabs for many years.’
Currently only people in priority groups are eligible for the vaccine, as specified by the government's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, including care home residents and staff, frontline health workers and people aged over 80.
Mark Bather, managing director for Rowlands Pharmacy, which has branches in Portsmouth, Havant, Gosport and Fareham, added: ‘Rowlands believes community pharmacy has a critical role to play in ensuring as many people as possible are vaccinated against Covid-19 as quickly as possible.
‘We are discussing with government what role they expect us to play, but we are ready, willing and able.’