A local pharmacy is set to lead a new vaccination site at the University of Bolton Stadium in Horwich.
This brings welcome additional capacity to the Covid vaccination programme in Bolton.
Hootons Pharmacy, part of the Whittle Pharmacies group and based in Lee Lane, Horwich, is expected to begin vaccinating at the home of Bolton Wanderers Football Club from Thursday, January 28.
The vaccination centre is one of several pharmacy-operated sites in Greater Manchester, which were announced this week.
Known as ‘Hootons Pharmacy at the Bolton Wanderers’ site, it will initially be vaccinating people aged 75 and over, and who have received a letter inviting them to book an appointment.
Details of how to book either online or via telephone are contained in the letter.
If people prefer, they can wait to be contacted for an appointment at one of the GP-led sites being managed by local Primary Care Networks.
There are currently seven GP-operated sites across the borough, providing access to every GP practice.
Each site has had to undergo rigorous checks by NHS England to ensure it is suitable, which is why the programme is being delivered in phases.
In addition to GP, pharmacy and regional mass vaccination centres, people are also being vaccinated at hospital hubs and in care homes as the NHS delivers the biggest vaccination programme in history.
The COVID-19 vaccination programme is being led nationally by NHS England, and Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is managing arrangements on a local level.
Senior Responsible Officer for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme in Bolton, and Clinical Director of Commissioning at Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Helen Wall, said: “As the programme gathers pace both nationally and locally, I am delighted to welcome on board an additional option for people to get vaccinated. This will help us to increase our vaccinating capacity for the people of Bolton.
“Everyone in Bolton in the priority groups will continue to be invited to a local GP-led centre, unless they prefer to attend the Wanderers site or a regional vaccination centre, which they can book once they have received their letter.
“This will be the first site in Bolton to be managed by a pharmacy and Hootons have worked really hard with the football club to make this work.”
Asif Adam, Superintendent Pharmacist for Whittle Pharmacies Ltd and Chairman of Bolton Local Pharmaceutical Committee said: “The NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme requires a massive effort and drive from everyone and we are so happy to play an active role in delivering this service to our communities in Bolton.
“Our teams have been working extremely hard throughout the pandemic ensuring that our patients and the public continue to have safe and timely access to medicines, public health information and advice to minimise the spread of this virus. We urge everyone to get vaccinated and help us bring this pandemic to an end, keeping our communities safe.”
Head of Community at BWFC, Phil Mason, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Hootons Pharmacy and want to encourage those who become eligible for the vaccine to take up the opportunity.
“There are many myths around the vaccine that need to be dispelled. This is the way forward for us all to move out of this pandemic and have the chance to be with our family and friends once again which will allow us to return to all those things we enjoy including going to the match.”
Vaccinations at Horwich RMI club started on January 19th with the over 80s. People in the 75 to 79 age group have begun to receive their invitations this week.
Invitations to receive the vaccine remain dependent on vaccine supply and delivery, and people will be contacted when vaccine supplies are available.
Similarly, bookings at the Hootons Pharmacy at the Bolton Wanderers site will be made subject to supply of vaccines.