Health secretary Sajid Javid walks outside his home in London, Britain June 27, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Health secretary Sajid Javid has acknowledged and appreciated the hard work done by community pharmacies in serving people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Community pharmacies have done an absolutely amazing job over the entire pandemic right from day one,” he said, on the sidelines of a roundtable held at the Department of Health and Social Care in central London on September 28.

“They were on the frontline, they stayed open when many other businesses, we understand, had to be closed, because they’re more than a business. They are part of your community serving critical needs.”

He added that during the pandemic, community pharmacies stepped up to deliver more than their routine services, by providing additional care in several ways and advising the country that was in a state of shock at the start of the crisis.

Javid said: “We didn’t have the answer. So first of all, I can’t thank community pharmacists enough for what they’ve been doing throughout the pandemic – when it comes to helping with vaccination programme, or in other ways.

“We absolutely need to make sure that they’re getting the support that they need. We constantly keep it under review.”

Meetings with sector leaders

Health secretary Javid informed that he often meets with community pharmacy leaders to discuss their needs.

“I think that dialogue is important to make sure that we’re listening and doing everything.”

Talking about the success of Covid vaccination drive in the country, he said: “Britain has been a leader in vaccine uptake. But it’s been uneven.”

The national vaccination data shows the uptake of more than 80 per cent for a double dose, but a community-based segregation shows a different picture.

Vaccine uptake

Vaccination uptake amongst the British Indian community stands at 70 per cent, and for the British Pakistani community, it’s about 55 per cent.

Javid said: “It has improved a lot in the last couple of months. But I wanted to certainly encourage more people to take up the offered vaccine, if you’re eligible. Please take it because we know it saves lives when it protects those people around you, and not just those who are taking the vaccine.”

He added that all medical organisations including the British Medical Association agree on this that “the vaccine works.”

“There are 200,000 or fewer people in hospital because of the vaccines, there are 126,000 fewer deaths because of the vaccines and that really has got to be a central message.

To be able to say goodbye to this pandemic at some point in the future “we just need more people to take up the vaccine if it is offered to them.”

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