Trained pharmacy staff began delivering vaccinations at Asda’s Cape Hill branch in Smethwick on Thursday.
Harbans Kaur, aged 78, was among the first patients to receive a jab at the new seven-day vaccine hub, which caters for priority groups in an area with some of the highest coronavirus levels in the country.
Asda, which has transformed the George clothing department at the store to accommodate the vaccination centre operating from 8am to 8pm to deliver 240 jabs per day, said a second larger vaccination centre will open in Watford, Hertfordshire, next week.
Asda said the new facility at its Watford superstore will have capacity to deliver 3,500 vaccines a week.
Faisal Tuddy, Asda superintendent pharmacist, said: “We are incredibly proud to be the first supermarket pharmacy to administer the vaccine and to play our part in helping the NHS roll out its vaccination programme.
“Many of the people who will attend the store today have been shielding at home for months and we hope receiving the vaccine is the first step towards a return to normality for them.
“We are also stepping up our support for the NHS by opening a second in-store vaccination centre next week and have offered all of our 254 in-store pharmacies across the UK, along with our logistics network, to help with the rollout.”
Sandwell Council’s director of public health, Dr Lisa McNally, thanked Asda for its prompt response in September last year after eight workers at its Cape Hill store tested positive for Covid-19.
Efforts to encourage customers to wear face coverings were stepped up, including the provision of single-use masks at the entrance to the store.
Sandwell Council said last week that 210 coronavirus cases had been reported in a week in the Smethwick ward of Soho and Victoria, equivalent to 1,200 cases per 100,000 people.
Speaking on January 18, Dr McNally, Sandwell’s director of public health, said: “These levels of infection are truly frightening and we have to do all we can to halt this surge.”
The latest available data for Sandwell shows an infection rate of 692 per 100,000 people, based on figures from January 18-24 when 2,272 people in Sandwell tested positive for Covid-19.
Speaking after the first jab to be given at a supermarket pharmacy was administered, Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for the NHS in England, said: “The NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history, has got off to a strong start.
“NHS staff have worked hard with businesses, community and faith groups to set up an extensive network of vaccination sites that offer a range of options for people in all areas to receive their injection.
“We want to protect as many people as swiftly as possible and this latest milestone, with more than 1,400 sites up and running, means that we can continue to expand delivery as more vaccine supplies come on stream.”