The number pharmacies across Ireland administering the Pfizer vaccine will double this week to over 700 as the vaccination rollout is extended to 12 to 15 year olds.
Pharmacies have administered almost 200,000 vaccines since June when Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced the expansion of the vaccination programme to pharmacies.
Some 320 pharmacies had already been administering Pfizer vaccines, among almost 1,000 pharmacies which have also been offering the Janssen vaccine.
Over 700 pharmacies originally indicated their availability to administer the Pfizer vaccine – and from this week these will now receive stock to begin vaccinations.
It is anticipated that the Pfizer vaccine will now continue as the mainstay of the pharmacy-based campaign against the virus.
However, any remaining stocks of the successfully administered Janssen vaccine can be administered to people aged 18 and over until they are used up.
IPU Secretary General Darragh O’Loughlin said that it makes a lot of sense for parents to be able to bring their children to a local participating pharmacy for vaccination.
He said that bringing children to a familiar environment provides reassurance and convenience for families and young people, reducing the pressure to travel to a vaccination centre.
“Pharmacies are now at the vanguard of the vaccination programme,” said Darragh O’Loughlin.
“The HSE is providing appropriate operational guidance including procedures for parental consent where pharmacists will be on hand to provide information and advice as they administer the vaccine.
“Pharmacists are delighted to be making this essential service both accessible and convenient within their local communities, where they have always played an integral role in helping people to stay healthy and well, and it is wonderful to see such a positive community response in return.”
Mr O’Loughlin said that over half of the Irish population lives within one kilometre of a pharmacy and 85% live within 5km.
“This enhanced local availability of the Pfizer vaccine will provide a further major incentive for people to be vaccinated and this in turn will help Ireland turn the corner in the fight against COVID-19,” he added.