Pharmacies in Macclesfield and Widnes among six to start high street vaccine rollout

Two pharmacies in the North West have been chosen to start administering the coronavirus vaccine Credit: PA

Two pharmacies in the North West are offering coronavirus vaccinations from today.

Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield and Appleton Village Pharmacy in Widnes are among six stores across the country which will distribute the vaccines.

By the end of the month, more than 200 community chemists will be able to give the jabs, according to NHS England.

Pharmacist Andrew Hodgson speaks to Robert Salt, 82, before he receives a coronavirus vaccine Credit: PA

Andrew Hodgson, the director of Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield has described joining the COVID vaccination roll-out as one of the "biggest days of my career" as his site began delivering its first jabs.

The pharmacist described the rush to set up a vaccination site as "a whirlwind". He gave the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab to 82-year-old Robert Salt at 8am on Thursday morning.

"It is probably the biggest single day of my career," Mr Hodgson said.

He added: "It's been a bit of a whirlwind. We've set this up in three or four weeks from scratch."

Mr Hodgson said he knows four generations of some of the families who use the pharmacy.

"I feel close to the people who are getting vaccinated and it is a personal experience for them," he said.

82-year-old Robert Salt said it was "wonderful" to have his first dose Credit: PA

Mr Salt said it was "wonderful" to have received his first dose, adding: "There was a little trepidation but it's good, everything has gone fine today, apart from the weather."

He said he felt relieved, but added he still had to be careful as his wife was still waiting for a vaccine appointment because she is under 80.

I'm healthy but you know you're in the age range where you're very vulnerable,The situation with the death rates going up the way they have done is pretty frightening.

Robert Salt

The two pharmacies in the North West join the 200 hospitals, around 800 GP clinics and seven mass vaccination centres where jabs are already being handed out.

Dr Bruce Warner, deputy chief pharmaceutical officer, praised the work of pharmacists and said: "Pharmacy teams have been working incredibly hard throughout the pandemic and, as we accelerate the vaccination programme, they are playing a vital role in delivering the life-saving jabs to those in their communities."

200 high street chemists will be able to give out the vaccines by the end of the month Credit: PA

Health Secretary Matt Hancock echoed his thanks and said it was "fantastic" that vaccinations would be available on the high street.

Mr Hancock said: "Pharmacies sit at the heart of local communities and will make a big difference to our rollout programme by providing even more local, convenient places for those that are eligible to get their jab.

"Pharmacists have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, often acting as the first port of call for medical advice - and often staying open when all around have closed.

"I want to extend my thanks to every pharmacy for their efforts to support the national response to the pandemic and keep people safe."