Sunderland has its first community pharmacy offering virus vaccine after Echo campaign launched
The first community pharmacy in Sunderland to give out Covid jabs is now up and running, with the head of the city’s pharmacists saying it is ‘fantastic that it is now providing this important service locally’.
Redhouse Pharmacy on Renfrew Road is now providing the service and has installed two special units where vaccines will be administered.
It is the first community pharmacy vaccination centre in Sunderland and, at present, the only one – although it is hoped that other community pharmacies will join in the future.
It comes after the Echo launched its Shot In the Arm campaign, calling for the vaccine to be rolled out through the nation’s army of community pharmacies and get the nation immunised quicker.
The development is timely with all adults aged 18 or over eligible for the jab from June 18. The NHS currently offers vaccines to everyone aged 21 and over.
The vaccinations have been available to patients in Sunderland at several Primary Care Network hubs across the city and centres such as the NHS Nightingale North East, for months. But Redhouse Pharmacy is now adding to this, helping the NHS vaccination programme to continue its strong progress.
Pharmacist Jaz Singh, owner of Redhouse Pharmacy said: “As a community pharmacist, I am really excited about delivering this important service.
"This has been a lot of hard work and, with the support of the Redhouse Medical Centre, we were able to host the community pharmacy vaccination next to the pharmacy.
“The pharmacy team and our volunteers have done an incredible job and I am very proud of the service we are delivering to our patients.
“I am delighted that Redhouse Pharmacy has been able to join the national effort in vaccinating patients to help us out of this pandemic.”
Umesh Patel, chair of Sunderland Local Pharmaceutical Committee said: “We already have a couple of hundred community pharmacy covid-19 vaccination sites across the country and a number in our region. It is fantastic that Redhouse Pharmacy is now providing this important service, locally.
"We hope others will follow as we move down the cohorts. Community pharmacies have a strong track record in vaccinations. They delivered more than 2.6 million flu vaccinations in 2020/21, despite being incredibly busy.
“Community pharmacies are a very accessible healthcare setting; patients are used to having vaccinations there and they like doing so.”
Professor Neil Watson, chief operating officer for the NHS Covid Vaccination Programme for the North East and North Cumbria, said: “So far in the region we have given over 3.4 million doses of vaccine across the North East and North Cumbria, which is phenomenal and something we should be very proud of.
“Local teams are also doing a great job of inviting people back for their second doses too, which are really important to give maximum protection from the virus to make sure they are vaccinated and protected from this awful virus.”
Redhouse gave out its first vaccines in May and anyone who is eligible can book their vaccine at the National Booking Service, or by calling 119.
More appointments are becoming available all the time. People are urged to check back regularly if they don’t immediately find something suitable.