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One year ago on 14th January 2021, pharmacy teams started giving the COVID-19 vaccination, starting in Macclesfield and Widnes.
It was at 8am when 82-year-old Robert Salt became one of the first in the country to receive his COV ID-19 vaccination from Andrew Hodgson, Chief Pharmacist at Andrew’s Pharmacy in Macclesfield.
Andrew’s Pharmacy is still going strong as a pharmacy vaccination site and in the last month surpassed over 100,000 vaccines.
Starting with Andrew’s as an example, pharmacy sites started to appear across the North West, expanding to larger locations including Larkhill Community Centre in Timperley, Manchester and the football stadium of Bolton Wanderers, University of Bolton Stadium.
The role of pharmacies in the vaccine programme is evolving to support community outreach – there are 12 hyper local pop up sites currently, including pharmacy-led artic sites at Royal Blackburn Hospital, in Blackpool and Aintree, pharmacy teams in St Helens and Chester have supported housebound vaccination.
Continuing their recognition in their local communities, pharmacy have also offered the COVID-19 vaccine to those who are housebound across the North West.
At this point over 3.5 million of the nearly 14 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given by pharmacy run vaccination sites and there are currently 170 sites operating across the North West.
Pharmacy teams continue to innovate in helping everyone to get the vaccine however it works for them including a brand new drive-through and walk-in site at Blackburn Rovers’ Ewood Park where, in its first week, around 50% of those vaccinated were first and second doses.
Bruce Prentice, Clinical Advisor for Pharmacy in the North West said: “Pharmacy has had an incredible year and has developed and matured wonderfully providing COVID-19 vaccination services to their communities, whether it be in their local area where they are well known or in larger sites including football stadiums.
“Now people are using our new drive-through model in Blackburn where an amazing 50% of those coming through have been getting their first and second doses. Indeed, every car has a story and we have plans for more of these drive-through sites and other ways to make the vaccine as accessible as possible across the North West”
Now pharmacy is working on an at home service, where those who are vulnerable and don’t wish to visit sites can book an appointment at home to ensure they are as protected as possible.