Mid Sussex pharmacists’ dismay at silence over Covid-19 vaccination

An East Sussex pharmacy became the first pharmacy-run site to go live across the county when it opened to patients last week – but in Mid Sussex our pharmacists are still waiting to hear and have spoken of their frustration.

Sunday, 31st January 2021, 10:55 pm
Updated Sunday, 31st January 2021, 10:59 pm

We’re continuing with our A Shot in the Arm campaign, calling for all pharmacists to be involved in the vaccine rollout, and there is much work to be done to ensure no-one is more than a ten-minute walk from a vaccination centre.

Ticehurst Pharmacy in East Sussex is one of 200 pharmacy-run centres across the UK which started vaccinating people on Thursday, January 21.

The centre will provide a minimum of 1,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine per week ‘to those eligible’ in the community.

S C Williams Pharmacy in Burgess Hill

People have been told not to turn up but that they will receive a letter inviting them to book a vaccine appointment through an online NHS booking service. This is to ensure the centre does not become overrun with people dropping in.

But in Mid Sussex, pharmacists are still waiting to hear when they can get involved in the vaccination programme.

Trush Patel, pharmacist at Day-Lewis Pharmacy in Burgess Hill, said: “We have heard nothing. It is very disappointing. There has been no communication at all from anyone regarding pharmacies and the covid vaccine.”

Jagjeet Singh, pharmacist at S C Williams Pharmacy in Burgess Hill and Selbys Pharmacy in Lindfield, applied to run covid vaccination sites at his pharmacies in December, but said he has also heard nothing.

The pharmacy team at Daylewis Pharmacy in Burgess Hill

“None have been approved in the area,” he said.

“Perhaps because Clair Hall is the main vaccination site, they haven’t approved us yet. We have even got a shortage of stock.

“We are very disappointed. The quicker we get the public jabbed the quicker we can start getting rid of this problem. I would like to help as much as I can. The fact that there’s not been a yes or no is disappointing.”

Healthcare company McKesson UK runs Lloyds Pharmacy, and said it had participated in the tender process to help the NHS deliver the Covid-19 vaccine rollout programme, offering the support of its pharmacies.

A spokesman said: “We are delighted to have one confirmed site, John Bell & Croyden in London, but we can do more and are currently in discussions with the NHS and Government.

“With a small adjustment to the rules, Lloyds Pharmacy could deliver 100,000 vaccines per week across 600 sites, ensuring hundreds of thousands of people receive the vaccine sooner rather than later, which would make a huge contribution to the national effort.

“Most people only live three miles away from their local pharmacy, making it the most convenient option for them during this difficult time.

“We will continue to work with the NHS and sector organisations to understand how we can help to roll out the vaccine by harnessing the scale of local pharmacies.”