'Please let our pharmacists do their bit' - how you can support our campaign calling for Covid vaccines to be delivered at local pharmacies

THE campaign to get more pharmacies involved in the UK Covid vaccination programme is gathering pace - with West Yorkshire leading the way.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 5:54 pm

It follows a campaign from the Wakefield Express series to expand the Covid-19 vaccine rollout to the UK’s 11,500 pharmacies.

Launched last week, the campaign, run by your Express along with our sister papers across the country, called on the government to ensure every resident is just a short walk from their Covid vaccine.

And on Thursday morning, just days after our campaign began, the NHS confirmed that more than 200 community pharmacies, including Boots’ Halifax branch, were to begin offering the vaccine.

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And thousands of people in Wakefield, including more than 1,000 frontline health and social care staff, are among those to have received the first dose of the jab since retired miner George Hopwood (pictured) became the first person in the district to be given his jab in December. Photo: Wakefield CCG

Speaking at the announement, Mark Lyonette, chief executive of the National Pharmacy Association, said: “Community pharmacists are eager to play their part in the Covid-19 vaccination programme, and as trusted health care professionals they will have a key role in achieving widespread uptake.

“We are proud that National Pharmacy Association members – who have been on the health service frontline throughout the pandemic - are joining this great national effort to defeat the virus.

“This is a proud moment for community pharmacy and a moment of hope for all.”

But while this a step in the right direction, we want to see more action.

The campaign to get more pharmacies involved in the UK Covid vaccination programme is gathering pace - with West Yorkshire leading the way. Photo: ISABEL INFANTES/AFP via Getty Images

We are continuing to call on the government to give all pharmacies in the Wakefield district the chance to offer the vaccine.

More than 4 million people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine since the rollout began in early December, with health secretary Matt Hancock confirming on Monday that 324,000 people a day are now receiving the jab.

And thousands of people in Wakefield, including more than 1,000 frontline health and social care staff, are among those to have received the first dose of the jab since retired miner George Hopwood (pictured) became the first person in the district to be given his jab in December.

Covid vaccines are currently on offer at four community sites in the Wakefield district, including Castleford Civic Centre and Sandal RUFC.

And a large-scale vaccination centre is expected to open at Spectrum Healthcare, in Wakefield, in the coming weeks.

But, as with the annual flu vaccine, vaccination figures could raise higher and faster with the help of thousands of willing and able pharmacists, who serve as trusted members of their communities.

Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper has repeatedly called for more vaccination centres to be opened in the Five Towns.

She said: “So far in the Five Towns, Castleford Civic Centre and Kings Medical Centre in Normanton are vaccinating over 80 year olds – that is really welcome and huge thanks to all those who have been organising the jabs.

“Rightly there are plans underway to set up many more vaccine centres – but so far all the additional centres we’ve been told about are in Wakefield.

“I’m encouraging the organisers to look at sites in Pontefract or Knottingley too so vaccinations can be done as fast as possible and so people don’t have to travel too far.”

And where better to administer vaccines on a local level than out nation’s network of community pharmacies?

To join the more than 80,000 people who have signed our petition calling on the government to expand vaccine rollout to pharmacies as a matter of urgency, sign our petition today.