Leighton Buzzard pharmacies leading battle against Covid-19 applaud high vaccination take-up

'Covid has affected so many people in different ways and we feel like we are making a difference and making people feel safer'

By Joanna Gravett
Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 1:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 1:50 pm

The Leighton Buzzard pharmacies leading the battle against Covid-19 have spoken about their success in boosting the community's safety before restrictions ease.

Jardines Pharmacy, Enterprise Way, and Lloyd's Pharmacy, Market Square, have both been pleased by the vaccination uptake and the support they have received from the community.

After the closure of the temporary centre at the rugby club, the pharmacies are now the only two vaccination points in the town, and are encouraging people to get their injections as the Delta variant spreads.

Lloyds Pharmacy and Grovebury Pharmacy (Jardines Pharmacy). Photos: Google.

Krishan Modi, director of Jardines Pharmacy, which is administering the Pfizer vaccine at its site on Enterprise Way, said: "In our Grovebury Pharmacy that's going really well. We started it a couple of weeks ago within our premises and are administering 90 a week, looking to increase capacity where possible.

"It currently runs for two days per week and we are delighted at the support we have received from the community.

"Our community pharmacy as a whole was asked to help by NHS England. In the last couple of weeks, especially because the date [for the easing of Covid 19 restrictions] was pushed back, there's been a call to arms within the sector to see if pharmacies can provide any sort of provision to get as many people vaccinated in the next couple of months.

"We have our Rosehill pharmacy in the town centre, but Grovebury is easier to access and has a bigger consultation room."

Encouraging other pharmacies to offer the vaccination he added: "If you have the space and provision and willingness to do it, the support is there from NHS England. It's not something to be afraid of, it's something to be embraced."

Jardines Pharmacy also runs a vaccination centre at Wing Hall Trust, which opened in March.

Mr Modi added: "We are running the off-site vaccination mass centre in Wing Village Hall. That's going really well and we have administered nearly 15,000.

"That is a real success story, and we have done the AstraZeneca vaccine for older cohorts and we are now doing the Pfizer vaccine for younger ones."

Mr Modi would like to say a big thank you to all of Jardines Pharmacy's volunteers and vaccination administrators for their hard work and support.

Pruthvi Patel, of Lloyd's Pharmacy, Market Square, which is offering the Pfizer vaccine, said: "This will be our fourth week and it's going really, really well. There has been a high uptake.

"We are part of a pilot in the Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes area, a Pfizer pilot for pharmacies, starting to offer 90 vaccines over a three day period. We have been doing quite a few - 100 to 120 per week.

"Since the younger age groups can come and get their vaccine, we have been finding that more and more people have been coming in and asking about it. Our calendar runs on a two week basis and is booked out within a few hours.

"We have got a big team here and we are following national guidance, staying two metres away from everyone, but I can understand if some chemists can't offer their support. Luckily, our store is quite big and we have support from head office."

Mr Patel added: "Everyone has been so receptive and positive and as a team it's been really nice doing this.

"Covid has affected so many people in different ways and we feel like we are making a difference and making people feel safer."

The vaccination centre at Wing Hall Trust is offering first and second doses of AstraZeneca for the over 40s, and Pfizer for all adults over 18 years old.