Boris Johnson indicated that, whilst 200 pharmacies are involved at present, this will “ramp up” and that local chemists will ultimately be “vital” in getting the jobs out to hard-to-reach members of the public.
It comes as the News Letter continues to press home the message of its SHOT IN THE ARM campaign – that the Province’s 550-or-so pharmacy outlets are very well-placed to help in the mass vaccination efforts, as opposed to leaving it to centralised regional hubs.
Labour MP Karl Turner, appearing via videolink, said that the Yorkshire Post had recently highlighted that 11,000 pharmacies nationwide “stand ready, willing, and able” to help dole out Covid vaccines.
“Yet his government have seemingly shunned an army of fully trained, experienced and registered technicians,” he told MPs.
Almost shouting at the Prime Minister, an extremely animated Mr Turner concluded: “Will the Prime Minister now take control and fully mobilise the skills and expertise of community pharmacies and get Britain vaccinated?”
Mr Johnson responded by saying there were 9,000 pharmacies nationwide (not 11,000), and that they do “an amazing job”.
“What we want to ensure is that we get doses to the places where they’re going to be distributed most effectively, the fastest,” he said.
“I’m sure the honourable gentleman wouldn’t want to see doses distributed to places where they might not all be used in the course of the day.
“We need at this stage to avoid any wastage at all.
“And that’s why we are concentrating, as I say Mr Speaker, on the 233 hospitals, 50 mass vaccination sites, 200 pharmacies already Mr Speaker – and we will ramp that up.
“It will be particularly important as we come into the phases where we need to reach people who are harder to reach in local communities, and there – as he says – local pharmacies will play a vital role.”
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