Darren Adam 1am - 4am
Asda becomes first supermarket to offer Covid-19 vaccinations
13 January 2021, 12:25 | Updated: 13 January 2021, 14:53
Asda will be the first supermarket chain in the country to offer Covid-19 vaccinations.
A new vaccination centre, believed to be the first to open inside a supermarket in England, will operate at an Asda branch in Birmingham.
The Leeds-based retailer has been selected by NHS England to operate the centre from its in-store pharmacy, with qualified staff administering the vaccine to priority groups identified by the NHS.
The store will transform its George clothing section and will have the capacity to administer 250 jabs per day from January 25, operating between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week.
Asda says it has offered all 238 of its in-store pharmacies, as well as its qualified pharmacists, to help with the rollout.
The firm said in a statement: "Individuals in priority groups will receive their appointment from the NHS and have the option to select the Asda store as a convenient location to receive their vaccination. They should not contact the store directly.
"Asda has also offered NHS England the full use of its 238 in-store pharmacies and qualified pharmacists to support the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine programme which has just begun.
"As this variant of the vaccine is easier to transport and store, it could be administered from Asda's full network of in-store pharmacies throughout the country."
Roger Burnley, Asda CEO and president, added: "We are incredibly proud to provide this service and are keen to do all we can to help the NHS and Government accelerate the rollout of the vaccination programme.
"We have an extensive nationwide logistics network that could support the storage and distribution of the vaccine and our highly-trained pharmacy colleagues are experienced in delivering large vaccination programmes, having recently provided nearly 200,000 flu jabs to members of the public.
"We are on hand to provide the NHS with any practical support required so that more people can quickly receive the vaccine."
It comes after seven mass vaccination sites opened across England on Monday as the Government ramps up its coronavirus vaccine rollout.
They are at Ashton Gate in Bristol, Epsom racecourse in Surrey, the Excel Centre where London's Nightingale hospital is based, Newcastle's Centre for Life, the Manchester Tennis and Football Centre, Robertson House in Stevenage and Birmingham's Millennium Point.
NHS England said the new sites are to be joined this week by hundreds more GP-led and hospital services along with the first pharmacy-led pilot sites.
This is set to take the total number of sites in the country offering the vaccine to around 1,200.