FILE PHOTO: A medical worker prepares an injection with a dose of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, at a vaccination centre in Baitul Futuh Mosque, amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Britain, March 28, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls


Community pharmacies saved nearly 20,000 lives up to autumn 2021 by vaccinating people against the Covid-19, the National Pharmacy Association said based on a National Audit Office (NAO) report released on Friday (February 25).

The report, having taken evidence from the NPA, highlighted that community pharmacies and GPs performed far beyond expectations in delivering the Covid-19 vaccine, as 71 per cent of jabs were administered by both healthcare providers till October-end, against an initial assumption of 56 per cent.

The report cited UK Health Security Agency figures, which estimated that the programme overall prevented up to 128,000 deaths and 262,000 hospitalizations by September 24 and September 19, respectively.

The estimated number is considerably higher, given the pivotal role played by pharmacies in this winter’s phase of the vaccination programme, the NPA stated.

The report published by the public expenditure watchdog examined how well the government is placed to achieve all its objectives for the Covid-19 vaccine programme.

It analyzed success factors, future aims and challenges, sustainability and value for money for the programme.

The report stated that “national and local partners showed an ability to adapt quickly, for example the rapid shift to deliver more vaccinations through GPs and pharmacies”.

It further added that dedicated vaccination centers have been the most expensive method at £34 per dose compared with £24 for GPs and community pharmacies.

Andrew Lane, chair, NPA

Commenting on the NAO report, Andrew Lane, chair of the NPA said: “We are delighted to have worked with the NAO on this important report covering the contribution of community pharmacies in the Covid-19 vaccine programme. Vaccinations delivered by community pharmacies helped save thousands of lives, which is an incredible achievement, but only one aspect of the sector’s valuable work on the NHS frontline during the pandemic.”

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