The site is located at Laycock Pharmacy in Ore, run by Shammi and Sapna Radia.
The fight against Covid-19 has been a family affair for the Radias as their daughter, Kajal Radia, has been working on the development of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for the last year.
Based in Oxford, she has been part of the team that ran the trials for the UK vaccine that is now being deployed around the world, and soon to be administered from her parents’ pharmacy in Ore.
Shammi said: “This is an amazing moment for our pharmacy in Hastings. We have been in Hastings for 35 years helping generations of families, and we’re fortunate that our premises are large enough to deliver the minimum requirement of 1,000 doses per week.
“But this is also an all-round community effort. We’ve had an overwhelming response from nurses and volunteers to help us get this vaccine out to those in the community who need it most, with so many people willing to help and give up their time freely.
“As community pharmacists we have been on the frontline throughout the pandemic, serving our community, but this goes above and beyond anything we have ever done before. We’re honoured to be contributing to something so big and are delighted to get going.”
Hastings and Rye MP, Sally-Ann Hart, visited the pharmacy and welcomed the opening of the new vaccine site.
She said: “I am delighted another vaccine site has opened in Hastings to help with the mammoth operation already underway to vaccinate the adult population against Covid-19.
“The Conquest Hospital and the Hastings Centre have been doing sterling work in administrating the first four priority groups before the middle of February, but the addition of the pharmacy site in Ore will help us turbo-charge these efforts and hit that target even sooner.
“I want to thank the staff at Laycock Pharmacy in Ore for stepping up and getting this site off the ground. I know it is a lot of hard work to set one of these sites up, but they have been a true inspiration to local people and are about to play a vital role in the vaccine deployment.”
This site adds to the hospital hub already operating at the Conquest, which is focused on NHS staff and social care staff; the Hastings Centre and also the Etchingham hub, which is administering vaccines to residents in Rye and rural Rother.
Craig McEwan, chairman of East Sussex Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), said: “It’s great to see another pharmacy-led vaccination centre going live in Sussex.
“Pharmacists across the county have been ready and willing to participate in the vaccination programme, so this is another positive step.
“Having a community pharmacy-based service in operation, serving its local community, will provide fantastic provision for the local area.
“We know that patients will value this and that pharmacies can make a significant contribution to the national vaccination efforts.”
The NHS said that people should not just turn up, as they will receive a letter inviting them to book a vaccine appointment through an online NHS booking service.
Today’s news comes as pharmacies across the country have started delivering the Covid-19 vaccine since we launched our A Shot in the Arm campaign,
The Observer joined its sister titles across the country in urging Boris Johnson to allow local pharmacies to administer the vaccine.
You can sign our petition by clicking here.
* Got a story? Ring reporters Richard Gladstone on 07803 505794 or Stephen Wynn-Davies on 07393 754494.
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