Use 11,500 pharmacies to deliver 24/7 vaccine programme, Labour urges

Sir Keir Starmer said: ‘Every high street has a pharmacy and I want to see every possible pharmacy deployed to help.’

Pharmacy
Pharmacy

Thousands of pharmacies must be used to help deliver round-the-clock coronavirus vaccinations by the end of next month, Sir Keir Starmer has urged.

The Labour leader – who will visit a vaccination centre in Stevenage on Thursday – said the Government needs to “match the nation’s ambition” with a 24/7 rollout of jabs.

He has called on ministers to deploy England’s 11,500 community pharmacies to guarantee vaccines can be delivered on every high street.

Sir Keir has also urged the Government to increase capacity to four million vaccinations a week by the end of February.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs on Wednesday that the NHS will launch a round-the-clock vaccination service as soon as possible, despite Downing Street previously saying there was no clamour for a 24/7 model.

The Government has also said they are considering what further role community pharmacies can play, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday that 200 would be coming on stream for vaccinations “very shortly”.

Sir Keir Starmer
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said pharmacies should be used as vaccination centres across the country (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sir Keir said: “The whole country wants this rollout to succeed. We were the first to get the vaccine and if we get this right and pull together, I know we can be the first country to roll it out successfully.

“To do that, the Government needs to match the nation’s ambition with a 24/7 rollout which harnesses all the expertise and dedication our country has to offer.

“Every high street has a pharmacy and I want to see every possible pharmacy deployed to help.

“Labour will play our part. Labour councils are already stepping up, supporting their communities and making generous offers of support to the Government.

“Across those communities, pharmacists stand ready to play their part too. Let’s use them, and let’s vaccinate Britain.”

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