More than 300 community pharmacies have already signed up to join the Covid-19 vaccination program from the end of this month, said Health Minister Robin Swann.
And that will bring the life-saving vaccination campaign to many local shopping streets, urban and rural neighborhoods.
The plan will see hundreds of community pharmacies providing vaccines to members of the public, complementing the work of general practitioners and vaccination centers.
The official launch of the rollout to community pharmacies will take place on March 30, although many are expected to have started before that date.
The Minister of Health said: “I am delighted to confirm another positive development in our action to protect the people of Northern Ireland from Covid-19.
“Community pharmacists are an integral part of the family of health care and social services. Their contribution to immunizing as many people as possible will be invaluable. ”
This new initiative will see eligible members of the public receive their vaccines at scheduled vaccination clinics.
It comes as the new SSE Arena mass vaccination center is due to open on March 29.
Northern Ireland Pharmaceutical Director Cathy Harrison said: “Community pharmacies are the most accessible health service to the public and their involvement in the Covid-19 vaccination program will build on the success of their role in winter flu vaccination 2020/21 in Northern Ireland.
“I would like to thank all the pharmacy staff involved and representatives of the community pharmacy sector for their support in making this plan a reality. ”
Joe Brogan, chief of pharmacy and drug management at the Board of Health and Welfare, added: “The Covid vaccination campaign is one of the ways we as a society will move forward.
“It is vital that our population has every chance to access this service and it is fantastic to have over 300 additional points where people can make an appointment for a vaccine at a time and place that is convenient for them. are suitable. I would like to salute the tremendous response from the community pharmacy teams to support the response to Covid and our path out of the pandemic. ”
Community Pharmacy NI Managing Director Gerard Greene said it was “a fantastic and welcome step forward”.
“The accessibility and reach of the network of community pharmacies, with pharmacists as qualified vaccinators, means that they are well equipped to participate in the immunization program and further contribute to the response to the pandemic,” he said. he declares.
“Throughout the pandemic, the community pharmacy workforce has gone out of their way to support patients across Northern Ireland.
“This latest example shows that our pharmacists are working together to ensure a smooth and safe immunization program to protect the public. This is to be commended.
“We also remind the public that community pharmacies remain open with support and advice for any medical issue.
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“The immunization program will have no impact on other services and prescriptions will be dispensed in a safe, convenient and timely manner.
“Public health remains our top priority and the community pharmacy network remains committed to serving their communities. The Covid-19 vaccine is another example of a community pharmacy playing this central role in primary health care. ”