An Asda store in Birmingham will become the first in-store supermarket vaccination centre in the UK as part of the government’s vaccine rollout.
Making vaccinations available in pharmacies is part of the government’s vaccination plan, alongside GP surgeries, hospitals, and large-scale centres.
Asda on Wednesday said it will convert the clothing section of the store into vaccination centre that can give 250 jabs a day of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, starting from Jan. 25, seven days a week.
In an emailed statement to The Epoch Times, the supermarket chain said it has also offered all of its 238 in-store pharmacies and qualified pharmacists to support the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine programme.
Vaccines are being given mainly through GP practices, but large vaccination centres have the advantages of longer opening times, seven days a week, and are more efficient. Other routes are in place to provide flexibility in the system.
The UK is far ahead of nearly all other European countries with its vaccination program.
A worker pushes shopping trolleys at an Asda store in West London on April 28, 2018. (Toby Melville/Reuters)
To date, 2.4 million of the approximately 68 million people living in the UK have received one dose of a vaccine.
The UK has approved vaccines quickly and was the first country in the West to approve any vaccine for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, with three now approved.
Just as the vaccine rollout began to start, however, the UK struggled to contain a surge in the virus, which scientists and the government say is due to a more transmissible variant.
The government has pledged that no person should be living further than 10 miles away from a vaccination centre.
The large vaccination centres were originally slated to be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. However, the prime minister on Wednesday said that they will also set up 24-hour centres.
According to the health secretary, vaccine supply is currently the limiting factor in the logistics of the rollout.
The logistics arm of the military—normally responsible for maintaining supply chains in fast-changing war zones—has been enlisted to help manage the rollout alongside the NHS.
Brigadier Phil Prosser, commander of military support to the vaccine delivery programme, said last week that the rollout so far had been equivalent to setting up a supermarket chain within a month.
“I found this logistic operation to be unparalleled in its scale and complexity. And I say this having served on operations around the world,” Prosser said.