As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect the entire country, vaccination centres are indispensable in reducing its transmission by improving the immunity of the population. GreenLife Pharma manages several community pharmacy-led sites which are essential in vaccinating as many people as possible throughout the UK.
One such site, operated by Wesham Pharmacy, was set up at AFC Fylde Stadium on 27 January 2021, and has since been vaccinating local residents on a regular basis. At their current rate, they are vaccinating 6,000 people per month.
To maintain this efficiency, GreenLife ensures clinics are open at AFC Fylde almost every day of the week. Vaccinators have been trained by Imaan Pharmacy from within its workforce and the local community (some of which are from Lancashire County Council). Accepting help from generous volunteers has helped to ensure everything runs smoothly. As a pharmacy-run service, there are always pharmacists present to oversee the operation.
Furthermore, GreenLife’s Wesham team and AFC Fylde have been regularly sending messages to the community via their social media pages to keep the community updated on who is eligible for the jabs, how to book an appointment, and on how the service is performing and progressing. This level of communication is also important in alerting people to the location of the vaccination centre, which is located at an external site, not at the pharmacy itself. Customers can call the pharmacy directly, send an email, or use the website’s online chat program if they have any queries regarding the service.
The space available at such a high capacity venue, plus its car park services, has already allowed many people to be vaccinated safely. Despite this, GreenLife are confident that with their management, the pharmacy can build further capacity allowing it to increase its daily vaccination rates from 600 to 800.
When vaccinating an entire community, it is vital nobody is left out, else the virus continues to propagate. Therefore, Wesham is equipped to deal with those experiencing vaccine hesitancy. Whether they do not speak English as a first language, have a disability/trauma, or are afraid of side effects, Imaan Pharmacy are accustomed to interacting with patients with different needs. By communicating with the patient and answering their questions, pharmacists ensure full consent is given before the vaccine is administered.
Additionally, no vaccine doses have been discarded thus far. Surplus doses are common, and as each vial comes in 8 doses that expire six hours upon opening, there is potential for waste. However, Wesham Pharmacy has a strict policy to never throw away any doses. Instead, the local community are contacted and are able to use up these doses, eliminating waste and increasing the community’s immunity at the same time.
Running a vaccination centre during a pandemic is not without its challenges. During the first week, uptake was slow – likely due to people being unsure of how to make a booking. However, this was quickly remedied by sending out videos and messages on the pharmacy’s social media pages with information on how to make a booking with the vaccination service. Since then, vaccination rates have rapidly increased. It is not always possible to predict and plan for every problem, but an efficient management team can diffuse a problem before it gets out of hand, and GreenLife’s quick response ensured the problem was remedied in time.
So far the Wesham Vaccine Centre at AFC Fylde has administered over 36,000 COVID vaccines. Bit by bit, they are helping to protect their community against the effects of the virus and to enable people to return to their normal way of life. However there are still plenty of people amongst all communities that have not yet received their vaccine or are hesitant on having it. They should speak to their pharmacist, GP, or one of our healthcare staff at the vaccine centre to help address their concerns.