FILE PHOTO: Small bottles labelled with "Vaccine" stickers stand near a medical syringe in front of displayed "Coronavirus COVID-19" words in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has reiterated that pharmacists have the expertise to play a crucial role in administering Covid-19 vaccinations.

“We need assurances from the NHS and governments that the programme will not disrupt our already stretched workforce but make way for greater collaboration between health professionals and minimise the impact on routine practice,” RPS president Sandra Gidley said after news that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for rollout in the UK from next week.

In a statement on pharmacists’ role in the programme, RPS recognises that any vaccination strategy must minimise disruption to routine practice across all sectors and ensure that patients can still access the medicines, services and health care they need, whilst utilising the expertise and leadership of pharmacists from all sectors of the NHS to deliver the Covid-19 vaccination.

It also highlights how pharmacists can help with strategic planning, oversight of vaccination distribution arrangements as well as operational roles in preparation for the vaccine programme rollout.

“The distribution and administration of the Covid-19 vaccination programme will require concerted action across the NHS,” the professional body said.

The RPS statement also highlighted the importance of:

  • The role of pharmacists in providing information to the general public about the vaccine to maximise its uptake
  • Using the skills of pharmacists in all sectors as part of a networked approach.
  • Encouraging collaboration between health professionals
  • Undertaking vaccination training and access up to date information about the vaccines
  • Guaranteed supply of clinical consumables used for vaccinations

Gidley added: “Safety is absolutely our number one priority, both for patients and for those administrating the vaccine. Pharmacists and their teams have been caring for the public and exposing themselves to the virus all through the pandemic, so it’s only fair that they are protected with this vaccine and continue to receive all forms of protective equipment.”

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