South Lakes MP Tim Farron has written to the Health Secretary calling for the Government to use high-street pharmacies to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
It comes as the Pharmaceutical Negotiating Service Committee (PNSC), which represent pharmacies during talks with the Government, say that their offer to help with the roll out has been met with “de facto silence”.
The PNSC say that there are around 11,400 pharmacies across the country that already administer millions of flu jabs every year, with the capability to vaccinate around 1.3million people against COVID-19 every week.
In a letter to the Secretary of State, Mr Farron said: “Pharmacies have the staff, the skills, the space and the storage needed to play a pivotal role here.
“I’m sure that you are aware more than anyone of just how critical the need to roll out the vaccine as quickly as possible is in ending this crisis and ultimately saving lives and livelihoods.
“I urge your Department to please think again and deploy pharmacies to administer the vaccine – the lives of many are counting on it.”
The UK has now vaccinated 1.3m people against coronavirus. PM Boris Johnson said the UK "has already, I think, certainly done more [vaccinations] than any other European country".
Covid vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi said, "I'm very hopeful that by the spring we will get through the nine categories."
The minister said the government is "absolutely" focused on a target that by mid-February the first four priority categories, set out by the joint committee on vaccination, will have been inoculated.
It is estimated that achieving that target will mean two million people a week in these categories will need to be vaccinated.
England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said the vaccine timetable was "realistic but not easy".
The nine most vulnerable groups, who are at the top of the list to be vaccinated, are:
1 - Residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults
2 - All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
3 - All those 75 years of age and over
4 - All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (not including pregnant women and those under 16 years of age)
5 - All those 65 years of age and over
6 - Adults aged 16 to 65 years in an at-risk group
7 - All those 60 years of age and over
8 - All those 55 years of age and over
9 - All those 50 years of age and over