Northern Ireland’s community pharmacies are to enter a new phase of the Covid-19 vaccination programme as they begin administering the Moderna vaccine.
The NI Department of Health announced today (July 27) that the Moderna vaccine will initially be offered from 16 pharmacies, with more being added “on a rolling basis over the coming weeks”.
This builds on the existing pharmacy vaccination service, which has seen over 115,000 AstraZeneca doses administered across almost 350 community pharmacies.
The Department said it was selecting pharmacy locations on the basis of vaccine uptake data in order to. “reach as many people as possible in areas of lower uptake”.
Health minister Robin Swann said: “Community pharmacy teams across Northern Ireland have already risen to the challenge by delivering over 115,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine while continuing to provide their vital services to people in their communities at a time of immense pressure across the health and social care system.
“As well as the continued availability of the AstraZeneca vaccine to individuals over 40, the additional availability of the Moderna vaccine to eligible individuals aged 18 years and over will also provide more locations where those people who haven’t yet come forward to receive their vaccine to do so now.
“While the logistical challenges with deployment of the Moderna vaccine are considerable, the number of participating pharmacies offering Moderna will continue to increase over the coming weeks and this will help many more people to come forward to access their vaccine in an easy and convenient location for them.”
Gerard Greene, chef executive of Community Pharmacy Northern Ireland, said: “We welcome the inclusion of Moderna to the Covid-19 vaccination programme, particularly for those in the under 40s age group. Community pharmacy is embedded in the heart of local communities, and this has been important in the vaccine roll out to date, providing patients with the option to receive their vaccine from a convenient and familiar health care professional, that they know and trust.
“As the Moderna vaccine is initially being rolled out to a limited number of pharmacies, I would ask the public to please be patient with community pharmacy teams as we continue to deliver pharmacy services and play our part in helping to protect the local population through the Covid-19 vaccination programme.”