Ipswich pharmacy first to offer Covid vaccinations
- Credit: Lucy Taylor
An Ipswich pharmacy is set to begin vaccinations to help the NHS reach the target of immunising all four top priority groups by mid-February.
Aqua Pharmacy in Duke Street will start offering the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine from Thursday to supplement the programmes being run in doctors' surgeries and hospitals.
Hayden Chemists in Bridge Road, Lowestoft, will also begin to offer vaccinations later in the week and both pharmacies will be open 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.
Michelle Claridge, director of Aqua Pharmacy, said: “Helping to protect the diverse Ipswich community that my team serve is a privilege and brings us all a step closer in swiftly and successfully ending the blight of Covid-19.
“I have had local support from our ward councillor Elizabeth Harsant, Ipswich MP Tom Hunt and the Police Chemist Inspector.
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"It has been a triumph of collaboration and team working, with other community pharmacies, pharmacists from every sector, community nursing, general practice and paramedics too, who will all work here together to vaccinate those most vulnerable.’’
Dr Ed Garratt, executive lead for the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System and chief executive of the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, was pleased by the news and said: "As highly valued partners in our local health system, pharmacies can play a vital role in our efforts to vaccinate the nation as safely and speedily as possible.
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“I am delighted that the first pharmacies in Suffolk are about to mobilise as we move through the priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.”
Tania Farrow, chief officer for the Suffolk Local Pharmaceutical Committee, called it a 'momentous occasion' for Suffolk community pharmacy teams.
she added: “There is definitely scope for a future role for more of our community pharmacies to deliver Covid-19 vaccinations on a larger scale – especially as the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine’s storage requirements are more practical to be delivered in a community setting.
"We look forward to the potential impact this may have on stemming this pandemic.’’
The pharmacies are an addition to the ever growing list of sites delivering vaccines across Suffolk, including hospital hubs, doctors surgeries, and community buildings.