The NHS will send letters inviting people to book their Covid-19 vaccination online. The Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be available, as they are currently in hospitals, care homes, some local GP surgeries and mass vaccination centres.
The Government is hoping to vaccinate 15 million people in the top four priority groups by the middle of February. Currently, over 2.6 million people have been administered the first dose of the vaccine.
On Wednesday, the UK saw its highest number of deaths caused by Covid-19 within 28 days of testing positive, reporting 1,564 more deaths.
The pharmacies offering the vaccine from today are:
- Boots, Halifax
- Andrews Pharmacy, Macclesfield
- Appleton Village Pharmacy, Widnes
- Superdrug Pharmacy, Guildford
- Cullimore Chemist, Edgware
- Woodside Pharmacy, Telford
These have been chosen as they can administer many jabs in a timely manner while still maintaining social distancing rules.
To qualify to give the vaccine, pharmacies must be able to administer at least 1,000 vaccines a week. They also must have enough fridge space to store 1,000 doses and be open seven days a week.
However, the National Pharmacy Association argues these rules should be relaxed to allow more pharmacies to open and help with the vaccine rollout.
The National Pharmacy Association’s Andrew Lane, representative for Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Northamptonshire, told the BBC, "We're here, we're trained, we will deliver."
He also recommends pharmacies offer the Oxford vaccine in the same way they do flu vaccines, given that it needs to be stored only at fridge temperature.
Although the NHS will invite people to have the vaccine in these locations, those who do not wish to travel to these sites may still receive the jab from their local GP surgery or hospital. However, they are advised that getting the vaccination at these sites may take longer than they would at the pharmacies.
The NHS has also reported that up to 70 more pharmacies will be offering the jabs and taking bookings for appointments next week. This will bring the total up to 200 pharmacy sites who will be offering the vaccine over the next fortnight.
In addition, from 25th January, an Asda store in Birmingham will be dedicating their former clothing section to offer vaccines. Qualified pharmacy staff will be administering the vaccines in this space.
Professor Claire Anderson, the chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's English Pharmacy, says she is looking forward to the vaccines being offered in more pharmacies as the program expands.