Its Smethwick branch will be the first to launch the vaccine.
Supermarkets are thriving right now and with non-essential shops closed, they are offering even more to add to your weekly shop. For those shopping at Asda, not only will they be able to pick up the usual items of milk, teabags, bread and bananas, but they can soon add a vaccine to their shopping list too.
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Asda has been selected by NHS England to be the first supermarket in the UK to rollout Covid-19 vaccinations from an in-store pharmacy in Smethwick, Birmingham. Speaking about the decision, Asda CEO and president Roger Burnley said the company was proud to have been picked to help deliver the vaccine.
He said: “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.”
The supermarket giant plans to transform its George department, which normally sells clothing, to make space for the vaccination centre – which will operate from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week and have the capacity to administer 250 jabs per day. The first vaccines at the Smethwick Asda branch in Cape Hill are expected to be administered from January 25 onwards.
According to its statement, Asda is also currently assessing other sites where the vaccinations can be administered at, with the help of NHS England and the government. Anybody in a key priority group will receive an NHS appointment and can then subsequently choose an Asda store, which operates 238 in-store pharmacies, to receive their vaccine.
This news comes after the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine began to be rolled out across GP surgeries, with over 700 sites across England expected to deliver the vaccine.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine will accelerate over the coming weeks as more supplies become available. Asda will add to a number of venues delivering the vaccine, including the mass vaccination centre launched this week at Millennium Point in Birmingham.
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Mr Hancock told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that 2.3 million people across the UK had received the jab and health services were “on track” to deliver it to 14 million by mid-February. “The rate-limiting step on the rollout is the supply of the vaccine itself. We are now managing to get that supply more than we have done before and it will increase over the next few weeks,” he said.
“We have the capacity to get that vaccine out. The challenge is that we need to get the vaccine in. What I know is that the supply will increase over the next few weeks and that means the very rapid rate that we are going at at the moment will continue to accelerate over the next couple of weeks.”
Maybe it’s time to add the vaccine to your shopping list?
[Featured Image: Asda]