The coronavirus vaccine is now being delivered by community pharmacists across the region – from a mosque to an Odeon Cinema.
Pharmacists have been involved at every stage of the vaccination programme – overseeing how the vaccine is prepared and they have put in place the measures to ensure the vaccine gets where it is needed in pristine condition.
A Telford community pharmacy became among the first in England to roll out the vaccine in January. It marked the first time that community pharmacies have been involved in the programme and it has resulted in more people aged 80 and over having the opportunity to get the vaccine more locally and by using the new national booking service.
Murtaza Master, clinical director from the Masters Pharmacy Group, said: “Pharmacists have played a pivotal role and have kept their doors open throughout the pandemic. Once again, we are pleased that we are playing a key role with our colleagues in this delivery of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
"We are excited to be working with Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham in delivering Covid vaccine to the community. We thank NHS England for understanding the needs of the BAME community and setting up this vaccination centre at the heart of the community. This will go a long way in addressing the issues of vaccine uptake in the area.”
Pharmacists have continued to use faith sites to carry out vaccinations such as The Al-Abbas Islamic Centre in Balsall Heath, which was the first mosque in the country to open as a Covid vaccination centre, Leigh Memorial Methodist Church in Stoke-on-Trent and Tamworth Baptist Church.
Asda became the first supermarket to support the NHS vaccination programme with the opening of a vaccination centre in the Cape Hill store in Smethwick.
And at the end of January, Pharmacy2U, the UK’s largest online pharmacy, teamed up with Odeon Cinemas in Nuneaton to open a vital Covid-19 vaccination centre to further support and protect the most vulnerable people across the country.
Other locations where life-saving coronavirus vaccines are being delivered include Burslem Cricket Club, Pure Gym at Nuneaton, The Spring Lamb in Oswestry and Telford Football Club.
Alison Tonge, the regional director responsible for the roll-out of the vaccination programme at NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands, added: “Pharmacy teams have been working incredibly hard throughout the pandemic and, as we accelerate the vaccination programme, they are playing a vital role in delivering the life-saving jabs to those in their communities.
"Thirty-four community pharmacies have been actively working on the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the West Midlands, so their skills and experience has never been more valuable. There are hundreds of pharmacy professionals working on the programme across the West Midlands in different organisations and locations.
“Pharmacists know their patients and their communities well and they are playing a key role in taking the vaccine out into local areas where people can walk to, find it easier to visit or feel most comfortable.
“The vaccines are both safe and effective, so if anybody who is eligible but hasn’t been vaccinated yet, I’d urge them to go online or call 119 and get themselves booked in.”