Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Raising the role of pharmacy with the Chair of Vaccine Taskforce

You'll have seen last week that the UK passed more than 15 million people vaccinated with the first dose of the COVID-19 jab. Considering that the first COVID-19 vaccine was only approved by the MHRA just two months ago, this is an astonishing achievement in our fight against coronavirus and pharmacists across the country have been pivotal in reaching this milestone.

As we now move into the next phase of the pandemic, pharmacy will continue to play an integral role in expanding the delivery of the programme. In the latest episode of the PharmSci Today Podcast, we had the opportunity to talk with Dr Clive Dix, Chair of the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce. Dr Clive praised the “fantastic” role of pharmacists in delivering COVID-19 vaccines safely to patients and it is a wonderful acknowledgement of the many pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and teams across the country in every sector who are playing a crucial role in this programme.

We recognised that with new variants of COVID-19, more vaccines are being developed to support the vaccination effort against virus. The current Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are more than suitable to help tackle these variants, but it’s important that we have as many options available as possible. It's highly likely that COVID-19 and Flu Vaccination campaigns will become the norm.

And as we learn more about these new variants, pharmacists and their teams need to be reassured that they’ll be provided with increased protection and guidance on how to deal with them. Recently, we co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister with other health care organisations, calling for further research and guidance on the variants, and to make recommendations on ventilation and respiratory protection.

As Dr Clive touched on, pharmacists can reach a huge variety of people and by doing so can increase vaccine uptake across all our communities. There is still a long way to go in this pandemic, but our profession will continue to work hard and vaccinate as many people as possible. And with the new roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions in the coming months, it’s vitally important that we all continue to adhere to social distancing measures and respect the current guidelines.

We’ll continue to highlight the key issues and developments on the COVID-19 vaccines and new variants, as well as other updates from across the world of pharmaceutical science on the PharmSci Today Podcast.

Listen to the podcast with Dr Clive Dix here.