Asda will become the first UK supermarket to offer in-store Covid-19 vaccinations, starting this month.
The supermarket giant was selected by NHS England to issue vaccinations from an in-store pharmacy from 25 January – with a Birmingham branch selected to be the first.
The supermarket giant is currently looking at other sites across the UK where vaccinations can be administered by pharmacy staff with the help of NHS England and the government as they help with the rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine programme.
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.”
Mr Burnley added: “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.”
Asda will be transforming its George department of the Birmingham store where shoppers will usually find clothes to make space for the vaccine operation.
The vaccination centre will be open from 8am to 8pm every day with the aim of administering 1,750 jabs per week.
The supermarket giant has offered NHS England full use of it 238 pharmacies nationwide with qualified pharmacists able to support the vaccine rollout.
The news comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there is evidence that public enthusiasm for the Covid-19 vaccine has “risen significantly”.
Government figures show that 2,286,572 people across the UK received the first dose of the jab between December 8 and January 10.
During Health Questions, Mr Hancock told the Commons: “The good news is that, over the last month, we’ve seen that the proportion of people who are enthusiastic about taking the vaccine has risen significantly and the proportion of people who are hesitant has fallen.
“I think people can see the enthusiasm that others have been taking the vaccine, but we’ve got to make sure that message of hope reaches all parts and all communities in the UK.”