Spotlight

Additional community pharmacy sites to offer COVID-19 vaccinations

This week, two more pharmacies in Somerset, will start to offer the COVID-19 vaccination to those in the highest priority groups as part of a national drive to protect the public from the virus and accelerate the roll out of the local vaccination programme.

The new sites include Boots pharmacy, in Taunton who will provide vaccination services from specially designed facilities within the high street store and Bruton pharmacy, who will operate from the Community Hall in Silver Street, Bruton.

The pharmacy-led sites, will deliver a wide range of pre-booked vaccination appointments throughout the week. People in the highest priority groups as identified by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation will be sent a letter by the NHS and invited to book their vaccination through the national booking service by phone, or online.

People can choose to attend a large vaccination centre or a pharmacy service which is most convenient and accessible to them, or can also choose to wait to be called by their local GP surgery if they prefer.

Dr Alex Murray, Clinical Director, NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said “We are really pleased to see the opening of two further vaccination sites within Somerset, to help people to access their vaccinations as easily and quickly as possible.

“We are very grateful to our local pharmacy colleagues who have been working round the clock to put local plans in place to enable more people to be vaccinated in the community in these new locations.

“If you have received your letter from the NHS, please don’t delay – book your appointment as soon as possible, so we can vaccinate as many people from the highest priority groups as quickly and safely as possible.”

Across Somerset, there are now 20 vaccination sites including the two large vaccination sites at Taunton Racecourse, the Bath and West Showground, two hospital hubs, 13 GP-led community sites and now three pharmacy-led sites at Morrisons carpark in Yeovil, Boots, Taunton and Bruton Community Hall.

Michael Lennox, Chief Executive, Community Pharmacy Somerset said:

“It’s fantastic to see the launch of the next two pharmacy-led vaccination sites in Somerset and great to see community pharmacy taking an even greater role during the pandemic to support people in Somerset.

“We know that people will really value having the additional choice in location and that pharmacies can make a significant contribution to our Somerset vaccination programme for COVID-19.”

Swapn Patel, Bruton Surgery lead pharmacist added “'Bruton pharmacy has been serving the Bruton community since 1827. Serving the needs of our customers and patients is at the heart of everything we do and right now when the community needs us more than ever, we did not hesitate to become a COVID-19 vaccination centre.

“Starting today, we will be operating from Bruton Community Hall which allows us to offer daily vaccinations to many more people in a safe and socially distanced way”

Brendan Moran, Store Manager of Boots in Taunton, said: “We are incredibly proud to support the NHS during this extraordinary time. Our pharmacy team are excited to get started and are delighted to be able to support residents in the local community, as helping them is at the heart of everything we do. We look forward to welcoming patients in store over the coming days and weeks, and are thrilled that our pharmacy has been selected to be at the forefront of the nation’s vaccination efforts.”

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.”

Healthcare teams across the county are working extremely hard to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups as quickly and safely as possible. Please be patient and the NHS will contact you directly when it is your turn – don’t call your GP surgery or local hospital to ask about your appointment.

People are asked not to turn up at any vaccination sites without an appointment.  It will not be possible to use the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service if you have not received an invitation letter.

People are asked to support the NHS:

  • please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you;
  • when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments at exactly the time you’re asked to, so that we can avoid queues in this cold weather;
  • don’t worry if you don’t know your NHS number – you can still be vaccinated without one;
  • and please continue to follow all the guidance in place to control the virus and save lives, even if you have already had your vaccine.

For more information on the NHS vaccination in Somerset please visit: https://www.somersetccg.nhs.uk/health/local-services/health-services-during-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccinations-in-somerset/

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/