Sunderland's Liberal Democrats back Shot in the Arm campaign to bring covid vaccine closer to Wearsiders' doorsteps by using pharmacies

Sunderland’s Liberal Democracts have backed the Echo’s Shot in the Arm campaign calling for community pharmacies to be enlisted in the covid vaccination rollout.

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 1:22 pm
Wearside Liberal Democrats leader Councillor Niall Hodson

The Government has pledged to ensure no one is more than 10 miles from a covid vaccination centre, but the campaign calls for this to be cut to ten minutes.

Sunderland’s three Labour MPs and the city’s Conservatives have backed the campaign. Now the Liberal Democracts have added their weight to the calls.

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Wearside Liberal Democrats leader Niall Hodson said: “Having one of the new national vaccine hubs at the Centre for Life in Newcastle is fantastic for the North East, but we need to make getting the jab as easy as possible for as many people in Sunderland, Washington, Houghton and Hetton which is why the Shot in the Arm campaign is so important.

“Using all pharmacies for the roll-out of the vaccines would mean that people across Wearside can nip to a local venue to get their jab instead of having to travel further afield which can be difficult, costly and inconvenient for many - particularly elderly or vulnerable residents.

“With cases and deaths sadly still on the rise this is the most worrying time of the pandemic. The Government mustn’t waste a moment in the race against the virus and should make use of local pharmacies to help get jabs in as many people’s arms as quickly as possible to help bring this virus under control.”

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society, which is also backing the campaign, said enlisting the help of the UK’s 11,000 local pharmacies would increase capacity for vaccinations as well as bringing them closer to people’s doorsteps.

She said if each pharmacy managed could administer 20 doses a day, that would be 1.3 million extra each week in total across the country.

Yet so far only 200 pharmacies throughout England have been allowed to take part in the roll-out programme.

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