Major pharmacies in England will start rolling out Covid vaccines, as the death toll from the virus across the UK has climbed above 100,000.
Boots and Superdrug branches will be among six stores across England that will be able to administer the jabs from Thursday, as the government aims to meet its goal of vaccinating all people from the four most vulnerable groups by the middle next month.
Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, North London, Woodside Pharmacy in Telford and Appleton Village in Widnes will be in the first group to distribute the injections, alongside Boots in Halifax and Superdrug in Guildford.
Boris Johnson also told MPs that the distribution “will be 24/7 as soon as possible” but said the supply of doses remained the main obstacle.
The Scottish government released its vaccine delivery plan on Wednesday evening, including details of how many doses it expects to receive for each week through the end of May, which has sparked a row with London, who refused to release their figures.
The six pharmacies were chosen because they can deliver large volumes of vaccine and allow social distancing, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was “fantastic” that jabs were available on the street .
“Pharmacies are at the heart of local communities and will make a big difference in our deployment program by providing even more local and convenient locations for those who are eligible to receive their vaccine,” he said.
By the end of the month, more than 200 community chemists will be able to donate vaccines, according to NHS England.
Pharmacies join the 200 hospitals, around 800 general clinics and seven mass vaccination centers where vaccines are already distributed.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has urged ministers to go further and use England’s 11,500 pharmacies to deliver round-the-clock vaccines by the end of next month.
The Expanded Vaccination Service in England comes as the UK’s daily reported death toll hit a new record on Wednesday, with 1,564 deaths recorded within 28 days of a positive test.
The latest figures meant that the grim milestone of more than 100,000 deaths involving coronavirus has now been passed in the UK, according to official data.