Govt needs to immediately use the accessible Pharmacy Network to deliver Covid Vaccines

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There is a severe crisis within the NHS due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our hospitals are at breaking point and primary care GPs are overwhelmed with the high surge in Covid-19 cases. With the emergence of a new more virulent strain, there is an urgent and pressing need to accelerate the vaccination program. Even if 2 million people are vaccinated per week, it will take us until the end of the year to vaccinate all the population. This means that Matt Hancock's pledge to be out of this pandemic by spring is a pipedream. There is an urgent need for the NHS to expand its capacity to deliver these vaccines. The current approach seems to be a strategy to establish more mass vaccination centres, train more staff, and pay for other infrastructure costs. However, there is a clear alternative that is immediately available. Government should enlist, as a matter of urgency, the help of the over 9000 community pharmacies (representing ~80% of all the community pharmacies in England) that are already fully equipped and trained to deliver flu vaccinations.  Government does not need to look much further to ensure a rapid roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccines. We urge the government not to repeat the fiasco around the procurement of PPE - don't look for unknown solutions and supply chains. Use the long established, proven and trusted network of pharmacies, in every neighbourhood on people's doorsteps. Safely, efficiently and cost-effectively. This will relieve pressure  on GPs, allowing them more time to focus on dealing with the those most in need of their skills. And most importantly it will increase the NHS capacity for the future, providing an easily accessible model of care within primary care. Let's apply the brakes on Covid-19 now.