Asda will become the first supermarket to provide in-store Covid vaccinations, joining the likes of Boots and Superdrug to offer up its in-store pharmacies.
The Leeds headquartered grocery giant said it has been selected by NHS England to operate a vaccination centre from an in-store pharmacy in Birmingham, starting from January 25, and qualified Asda pharmacy colleagues will administer the vaccine to priority groups.
Asda is investing to transform its George department to make space for the vaccination centre – which will operate 8am to 8pm, seven days a week and have the capacity to administer 250 jabs per day.
The site is the first Asda pharmacy to be approved to support the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine programme and Asda is continuing to work with Public Health England and NHS England to assess other sites within its estate that could support this programme.
Asda has also offered NHS England the full use of its 238 in-store pharmacies and qualified pharmacists to support the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine programme which has just begun.
Roger Burnley, Asda CEO and president, said: “We are incredibly proud to provide this service and are keen to do all we can to help the NHS and Government accelerate the rollout of the vaccination programme.
“We have an extensive nationwide logistics network that could support the storage and distribution of the vaccine and our highly-trained pharmacy colleagues are experienced in delivering large vaccination programmes, having recently provided nearly 200,000 flu jabs to members of the public. We are on hand to provide the NHS with any practical support required so that more people can quickly receive the vaccine.”
Roger Burnley wrote to Asda’s customers to update them on the firm’s moves to fight against Covid-19, telling them in an email: “It’s crucial that we all play our part, support one another, and help take the pressure off the NHS.”
Meanwhile Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cheshire, today became one of six pharmacies in England to begin administering doses, as the Government seeks to expand the vaccination programme.
Elsewhere, Boots in Halifax, Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, north London, Woodside Pharmacy in Telford, Appleton Village Pharmacy in Widnes and Superdrug in Guildford have also joined the roll-out.
Seb James, managing director Boots UK and Republic of Ireland, said additional sites would be opening in its Huddersfield and Gloucester branches in the coming weeks, with more stores under consideration.
Mr James said: “Like Covid-19 testing, we believe Boots can play a key role in the vaccination programme – our pharmacists are experts in vaccination programmes and have a trusted role at the heart of our local communities.”
Michael Henry, healthcare director at Superdrug, said plans were under way to open vaccination sites in stores in Manchester, Leeds, Basingstoke and Bristol operating 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
He said: “I believe it is critically important that everyone plays their part in supporting the national effort against Covid-19 and ensuring that we get the country and the economy back on track as soon as possible.”