Hundreds receive coronavirus vaccine at pharmacy
- Credit: Mick Howes
Management have praised "a real team effort" as the first chemist in the region has started giving Covid-19 vaccines to the community.
Hayden Chemist, in Oulton Broad, Lowestoft began providing vaccines on Thursday as it increases the number of locations locally for patients to get their jabs.
After joining GP-led sites in Waveney vaccinating patients against coronavirus at Kirkley Mill Surgery in Lowestoft and Sole Bay Health Centre in Southwold, pharmacists said that around 600 people had received vaccines at the chemist during the first two days.
Melissa Peet, manager at Hayden Chemists, said: “Our first day vaccinating local people really couldn’t have gone any better.
"We had two pharmacists immunising and were fully booked all day.
"The team have worked incredibly hard and there has been a really great atmosphere.
“We’ve had fantastic feedback from the over 80s who came for their jab, they are so pleased to get their vaccine and were incredibly grateful to our staff and the NHS.
“People tend to feel comfortable coming to their community pharmacy.
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"They have often visited us before to collect prescriptions or get their over the counter medicines, so our staff and regular customers know each other well.
"This has really helped make things run smoothly for the vaccination roll out.
“I’d also like to thank the wonderful volunteer stewards who have helped people with parking and signposting – it’s been a real team effort and we’re looking forward to helping to protect many more people from COVID-19 over the coming months.”
With Hayden Chemist now offering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, after the opening day pharmacist Sunny Dhanoa - co-owner of the Hayden Chemists Group - said: “Today marks the first day for us where we can actively contribute to the fight against this pandemic and support the most vulnerable in our community.
“We have an incredibly dedicated and supportive team working together which has meant that our first day off the starting blocks I’m pleased to report has gone smoothly.
"We see this vaccination programme as more of a marathon than a sprint, we are in it for the long haul and will continue to vaccinate more and more cohorts as they become eligible.
"Being an additional booking option and offering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine gives greater patient choice to the community we serve and we are privileged to be one of the first pharmacies in our region to participate.”
Hayden House joint site manager Brett Robson said patients had attended from Beccles, Bungay, Chedgrave and Loddon as well as Lowestoft, Haddiscoe and Oulton Broad.
Co-owner Mitul Patel said: “The only way we can get out of this pandemic and get back to normal is by vaccinating as many people as quickly as possible.
"The only way to keep people safe is by providing the vaccinations as quickly as we can to the entirety of the population.
"The over 80s are nearly done in this area and we are starting the over 70s.
"The quicker we can get through by offering our pharmacy to help to speed the process the quicker we can get back to normal."
After having the jab Barbara Marriott, from Bungay, said that she was "pleased" to have had the vaccination and thought it would give her more confidence.
Grace Moyes, from Bungay, added: “I was pleased to come here for the injection.
"It will make me feel safer.
"I don’t go out much but when I do go into town I shall feel safer now – but I realise I still need to be very careful."
Maureen Gook, of Lowestoft, said: "When it takes hold and I am covered it will give my family more peace of mind now that I have been vaccinated”.
Muriel Cooper, from Beccles, said: “I didn’t feel the needle going in, they were very good.
"I am 87 and I was looking forward to getting the vaccination done – as it is for my own safety as well as everybody else's.”