Vaccines: Time to stop the misleading PR spin over pharmacies – The Yorkshire Post says

OUR QUIET pride watching Yorkshire pensioners stoically braving the snow – and lockdown – to receive their Covid vaccines at a Halifax pharmacy is offset today by our incredulous anger at the Government’s obstruction, obfuscation and obstinacy on an issue that is, frankly, a matter of life and death.

Victoria Watling receives her first vaccine at the Boots pharmacy in Halifax. Photo: Simon Hulme.
Victoria Watling receives her first vaccine at the Boots pharmacy in Halifax. Photo: Simon Hulme.

The branch of Boots in the Pennines town is just one of six pharmacies across Britain allowed to inoculate the elderly and vulnerable, hence why The Yorkshire Post and its sister papers are now campaigning for the 11,000 nationwide network of high street chemists to be mobilised.

The Government’s own data shows that the most vulnerable now account for 88 per cent of Covid deaths and these are the very people who will struggle, or be unable, to travel to the new vaccine ‘super centres’, hence the need to empower trusted and trained pharmacists alongside mobile units.

Yet trying telling this to Ministers who think they know best. They don’t always. And when our petition, calling for all pharmacies to be used as part of the Covid-19 vaccine programme, was submitted to Parliament in the hope of securing sufficient signatures to trigger a debate, it was rejected by the ‘UK Government and Parliament’ petitions team on the spurious grounds that this policy is “already happening” or “has been announced”.

Colin Watson receives his Covid vaccine at Boots in Halifax. Photo: Simon Hulme.

It’s not and this robotic response is about as misleading as the NHS England press release headlined ‘High Street Pharmacies Deliver NHS Covid Jabs’ when, in fact, just six out of 11,000 stores are involved.

As previously stressed, the vaccines strategy will only be effective, and save lives, if it is embedded in local communities, and pharmacies are best placed to achieve this. And it is high time that Ministers admitted – and accepted – this reality rather than resorting to disingenuous PR spin to mask failings.

To sign our petition, click here.

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The snow scene in Halifax.