Supermarket chain Asda is transforming the clothing section of one of its stores to host a Covid-19 vaccination centre. The centre, believed to be the first to open inside a supermarket in England, will operate at an Asda branch in Birmingham from the week starting on January 25.
The Leeds-based retailer has been selected by NHS England to operate the centre from its in-store pharmacy, with qualified staff administering the vaccine to priority groups identified by the NHS.
The centre will operate from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, and have the capacity to administer 250 jabs per day.
Asda bosses said the site is the first Asda pharmacy to be approved to support the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine programme, and the chain is continuing to work with Public Health England and NHS England to assess other sites within its estate.
The firm said in a statement: “Individuals in priority groups will receive their appointment from the NHS and have the option to select the Asda store as a convenient location to receive their vaccination. They should not contact the store directly.
“Asda has also offered NHS England the full use of its 238 in-store pharmacies and qualified pharmacists to support the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine programme which has just begun.
“As this variant of the vaccine is easier to transport and store, it could be administered from Asda’s full network of in-store pharmacies throughout the country.”
Roger Burnley, Asda CEO and president, said: “We are incredibly proud to provide this service and are keen to do all we can to help the NHS and Government accelerate the rollout of the vaccination programme.
“We have an extensive nationwide logistics network that could support the storage and distribution of the vaccine and our highly-trained pharmacy colleagues are experienced in delivering large vaccination programmes, having recently provided nearly 200,000 flu jabs to members of the public.
“We are on hand to provide the NHS with any practical support required so that more people can quickly receive the vaccine.”