Pharmacy leaders believe they can expand the role they have played in the vaccination rollout – diverting patients from stretched GP surgeries reports the Mirror.
National Pharmacy Association chairman Andrew Lane said: “Pharmacies have been central to the Covid vaccination programme.
“Our partnership with the NHS on vaccinations has protected many millions of people, and everyone from local NHS teams to the pharmacists and our brilliant volunteers have been working very hard.”
Official figures show that 97,385,716 vaccines – including first doses, second doses and boosters – had been injected up to November 30, with pharmacies carrying out 16,713,607, or 17%.
Other jabs take place in doctors’ practices, hospitals and vaccination sites.
The NPA said 1,464 pharmacies – just 13% of all pharmacies – had been allowed to participate in the vaccine programme.
It wants more chemists given permission to jab, following a rise from just 227 pharmacies vaccinating in February.
Mr Lane said: “Many more pharmacies have offered to help but still await approval.
“While sensible steps have been taken to increase capacity in the current pharmacy sites, it would be a massive own goal to overlook the many other pharmacies wanting to join this great national effort.”
An NHS spokesman said there had been “over a 50% increase in the number of pharmacies delivering boosters” since October, “with over 1,500 pharmacies now giving boosters compared to under 1,000”.
Daily records for booster vaccinations in pharmacies have been broken twice this month.
Some 183,000 top-up jabs were delivered on December 13, with 227,000 on December 17.
The spokesman added: “Over 27 million people have already received the lifesaving booster to maximise their protection – including a record 4.6 million people who got boosted the week before Christmas – with hard-working NHS staff working flat out to protect people against coronavirus.”