High street pharmacies including Boots and Superdrug will start rolling out coronavirus vaccines from today as the UK ramps up plans to vaccinate 2m people a week by the end of the month.
Six stores around the country, including a Boots store in Halifax and a Superdrug chemist in Guildford, were the first to start administering the jab this morning.
Around 70 further high street chemists will start taking bookings from next week, with more than 200 community pharmacies set to join the programme later this month.
The stores will form an integral part of government plans to vaccinate almost 14m of the most vulnerable population by mid-February.
“Pharmacies sit at the heart of local communities and will make a big difference to our rollout programme by providing even more local, convenient places for those that are eligible to get their jab,” health secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Staff across the NHS have pulled out all the stops to help ramp up vaccinations and are working day and night to keep people safe.
“Pharmacies play a vital role in caring for the nation and I am really pleased to see them coming on stream to help with the national vaccine roll-out effort.”
The Prime Minister over the weekend compared the nation’s largest vaccination programme as a “race against time”, as the UK continues to grapple with its worst wave of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.
More than 200 hospitals, 800 GP clinics and seven mass vaccination centres around the country are currently administering vaccines to the most at-risk.
It comes as the UK yesterday recorded its highest ever daily Covid death toll, with 1,526 further fatalities.
The figure means the death toll from the second wave has now outweighed the first, with the total number of coronavirus-related fatalities now above the 84,000 mark.