Pharmacists to begin offering Covid jabs to over 50s

Pharmacists to begin offering Covid jabs to over 50s

Around 60,000 doses of the J&J vaccine will be distributed to pharmacies across the country.

People over 50 will be able to get a Covid-19 vaccine from their local pharmacist from today as more than 1,000 pharmacies across the country join the vaccination programme.

They will initially only administer the one-shot Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine, however, the Pfizer jab will be made available in the coming weeks.

Around 60,000 doses of the J&J vaccine will be distributed to pharmacies across the country.

It comes as people in their 30s are expected to be able to register for a vaccine this week.

Kathy Maher, a pharmacist in Duleek, Co Meath says it is an exciting day and people can now choose to get their jab in their own community or travel to a vaccination centre.

Ms Maher says: "Pharmacists have wanted to be involved since the program began, and we're delighted that finally at this stage, vaccines are coming into communities around Ireland.

"Where I work, Duleek is a small village in Co Meath, and they'll be delighted to know that they can pop into the local pharmacy to have the vaccine."

Those who wish to get their jab do not need to register online, though they will need to book a vaccine appointment with their chosen participating pharmacist.

Darragh O'Loughlin, CEO of the Irish Pharmacy Union says pharmacists have been "ready and waiting" to begin administering Covid-19 vaccines to the public for the last few months.

Speaking on Newstalk, Mr O'Loughlin says there would be two parts to the rollout at pharmacies.

"The first is that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be delivered to 700 or 800 pharmacies in the coming days and those will be available for anyone over the age of 50 who hasn't already been vaccines, whether or not they registered on the HSE portal," he said.

"In a couple of weeks, a number of pharmacies, mostly those that are not too close to vaccination centres, will have the Pfizer vaccine and they'll be using them just the same as the vaccination centres and GPs as part of the national vaccination programme."

Importantly, Mr O'Loughlin said that people who had received their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine would have to wait for their second dose at a vaccination centre and should not book an appointment at a pharmacy.

A list of pharmacies beginning vaccination can be found on the HSE’s website.

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