Three pharmacies in Devon are now offering appointments for coronavirus vaccinations to people in priority groups who have received letters from a national booking system.
They are located at:
• Plymouth Cricket Ground, Devonport, run by Devonport Pharmacy
• Lewis Pharmacy, Exeter Road, Exmouth
• Westward Ho! Baptist Church, run by Arnolds Pharmacy, Westward Ho!
The sites in Plymouth and Exmouth started 28 January while the vaccinations began in Westward Ho! on 23 January.
They join the two large-scale NHS Vaccination Centres, four hospital hubs and 20 GP-led centres already delivering vaccinations across the county.
NHS England is running the roll-out of community pharmacy sites and is due to announce more in coming weeks.
This move sees the life-saving vaccination being offered on local high streets, further accelerating the biggest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS.
Martyn Lewis, who owns Lewis Pharmacy in Exmouth with his wife, Jackie, said: “We are a community pharmacy first and foremost, and wanted to help deliver the vaccine in our local area.
“It was a hugely proud moment when we delivered our first vaccines yesterday morning. The patients who received them were very happy and grateful to have been vaccinated.
“Our staff have pulled out all the stops to be ready – supported by a fantastic network of nurses, GPs, volunteers, and many others.
“Everyone is working so hard to vaccinate people as quickly and safely as possible, and we’re delighted to be part of it.”
People invited to make an appointment through the new national booking service will be given a choice between a vaccination centre or a pharmacy service.
People can choose the site most convenient and accessible to them or can wait to
be contacted by their GP. It is not be possible to use the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service without having received an invitation letter. The letter from the national system includes a
unique code that is used to make the appointment.
Devonport Pharmacy in Plymouth delivered its first vaccines to local people yesterday from Plymouth Cricket Ground.
Ron Kirk, director of Poolearth which runs Devonport Pharmacy, said: “We held our first clinic yesterday, which was flawless. Patients were absolutely chuffed to get their vaccinations, and really impressed at how slick and quick the process was.
“The support from the local community has been brilliant and we couldn’t have done it without them. So many people and organisations have come forward from the cricket club where we’re delivering the vaccines, to the residents who have volunteered as marshals, and, of course, our exceptional staff.”
People cannot get the vaccine at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy without an appointment. Doing so risks disrupting the work of NHS staff in protecting those at highest risk.
If a patient receives a letter offering an appointment at a large-scale Vaccination Centre or pharmacy, it does not mean they have been taken off their GP list.
Patients do not need to let their GP practice know if they get vaccinated at a largescale centre or pharmacy.
In northern Devon, Arnolds pharmacy in Westward Ho! has been delivering vaccinations from Westward Ho! Baptist Church since Saturday 23 January. Osman Hamid, superintendent pharmacist for Arnolds Pharmacy, said: “Our first vaccination clinics have gone tremendously well. Everyone is pulling in the same direction, and we’re all working with smiles on our faces.
“The feedback from patients has been amazing. Many of them have commented on how well looked after they were and how calm their whole experience was.
“We’ve had an unbelievable amount of support from our staff, the local community, the council, the NHS, and local businesses.
“It’s truly heart-warming how everyone has come together, and it really feels like we’re starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.”
Appointments at the sites are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are urged not to turn up early to avoid queues.
It is possible someone might receive more than one invitation to be vaccinated if correspondence crosses in the post. In this case, recipients can book at their preferred venue and disregard other correspondence – but they must not attend both.
There is no need to contact the NHS separately to let us know which one you have chosen.
People who have booked an appointment at one site but wish to attend a different venue must cancel the slot they don’t want to ensure others can have the vaccination.
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