Community Pharmacists hail success of Winter Vaccination Programme as residents in 440 care homes are vaccinated

Community pharmacy teams have administered over 22,000 COVID-19 and flu vaccinations  across 440 care homes in Northern Ireland since October 2023.

This means vaccinations have been made available to over 99% of care homes across Northern Ireland, with the programme of vaccination visits for the sector expected to be completed this month.

Vaccination for residents in care homes is a key part of the wider community vaccination programme funded by the Department of Health. This is aimed at boosting the protection of those over the age of 65, frontline health and social care workers, and adults in a clinical risk category, with vaccinations available in local community pharmacies. Community pharmacy teams have been the sole provider of this service to individuals living in care homes, as part of a new scheme established during the pandemic.

Community Pharmacy NI has commended the pharmacists and their teams for their diligent delivery of this vital service, hailing its success as further evidence of the efficient, high-quality pharmacy expertise available in the heart of the community.

Commenting on the success of the Winter Vaccination Programme delivered by community pharmacists, Vice Chair of Community Pharmacy NI and Country Pharmacy Manager at Boots, Marie Smith said:

“Community pharmacy is the first choice for many in our communities, especially the elderly and those preferring not to travel, due to our convenience and the fact that patients know and trust us. It is great to see so many people receive COVID-19 and flu vaccinations in care homes from community pharmacists; these are some of the most vulnerable people in our society who simply can’t access a healthcare setting, so the success of the programme is a testament to the hard work and dedication of community pharmacy teams across Northern Ireland.

The enthusiastic participation of care homes and residents is also encouraging ahead of the Christmas period with people visiting loved ones during this time”.

“Our flexibility, accessibility and ability to administer this volume of vaccinations is further proof that if community pharmacy is funded adequately, pharmacy teams across Northern Ireland can do a lot more to ease pressures on the health service and provide expert healthcare in the heart of the community”.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Lourda Geoghegan hailed the efforts made to deliver vaccinations: “The provision of COVID-19 and Influenza vaccinations to residents in our care homes is hugely important and I very much appreciate the work done to date and the work continuing to make that happen through this year’s Autumn vaccination programmes.

“Everyone involved in our COVID-19 and Influenza vaccination programmes – including community pharmacies, GPs, PHA, Trust and Departmental colleagues – is providing vital protection to citizens and vital support to our health service amid severe winter-related pressures.”

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