Even the face mask can’t hide Olutayo Arikawe's beaming smile as she opens the doors to the church hall. She's just taken a delivery of the first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine in readiness for a COVID-19 clinic serving her community in Dudley, England.
Olutayo, an Alphega UK pharmacist and owner of Priory Community Pharmacy in Dudley, has been eagerly awaiting this day. Like many independent pharmacists, her pharmacy is located in the heart of her community, and her patients come from many backgrounds with a rich ethnic diversity. Every day, she and her team work to reassure patients that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, and that having the vaccine is the best thing to do for them, their families and the community as a whole.
She’s also a passionate advocate for why more independent pharmacies should be involved in the national effort to protect the most vulnerable in our communities from COVID-19.
“We have always championed the health of our community to make sure that we are all living healthily and with a good quality of life,” explains Olutayo. “We are best placed. We know our people, and when we explain the reasons why they should have the COVID vaccination, they trust us.”
Priory Community Pharmacy manages one of more than 40 Alphega Pharmacy COVID-19 locations offering vaccinations to communities across the UK. In the coming weeks, Alphega Pharmacy UK members plan to open a further 20 locations, ensuring many more in people across UK have access to COVID-19 vaccinations in their neighborhoods.