As from 11 January 2021, pharmacists in Northern Ireland have been prioritised as a target group to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) has issued information to staff working in pharmacies who can access the HSC booking system to avail of their Covid-19 vaccination. Pharmacies and practices will have received information on how to book a slot for the jab.

Commenting on the development, Forum Manager, Julie Greenfield, said:

“This is a welcome step forward. Community pharmacists, as a regulated profession with a proven track record in flu vaccination delivery, are well placed to help in the Covid-19 roll-out. There is a capacity and willingness among the profession here to support the vaccine roll-out. Pharmacists want to play their part in supporting the government’s effort in this undertaking so we as a society can begin to live more normal lives again.”

The Covid-19 vaccination programme will require a range of vaccinators working collaboratively across the health service. Pharmacy is always an innovative sector and there are various mechanisms for pharmacists to be involved in the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccination programme as they work in hospital, GP practices and also community pharmacies.

In community practice, setting the rate limiting step will be availability of vaccine in Northern Ireland, which will improve as time goes on. From a practical standpoint the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will be the vaccine which can be transported within the existing supply chain more readily.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, pharmacists across Northern Ireland have stepped up to continually provide for and protect patient safety by ensuring continuity in medicines supply. Regarding the current phase of the pandemic, Ms Greenfield added:

“Pharmacy Forum NI calls for an expansion and acceleration of the vaccination programme. Things are moving at pace and we now await direction from the Department of Health as to how we can be involved in this urgent phase of the pandemic.”

Notes to Editors

  • Pharmacy Forum NI is the professional leadership body for pharmacists in Northern Ireland, representing all sections of pharmacy practice including community, GP, hospital, industry and academia. We represent over 2,800 registered pharmacists and almost 150 pharmacy pre-registration students. 
  • Contact Roisin Hughes: 
  • Follow us on Twitter @PharmForumNI