Asda stores in Suffolk could become Covid vaccine centres

ASDA in Ipswich - Whitehouse.

ASDA in Ipswich - Whitehouse. - Credit: Archant

Asda superstores in Suffolk could be among those used as vaccination centres, it has been announced.

The Leeds-based supermarket chain has already begun to transform the clothing section of one of its stores in Birmingham to into a Covid-19 vaccination centre.

A spokesman for the company said any superstores with a pharmacy could be used to offer the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

This includes the firm's stores at Stoke Park and White House, Ipswich and its store in Bury St Edmunds.

Roger Burnley, Asda chief executive 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.

“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.”

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The news comes as prime minister Boris Johnson announced the government's plans for 24/7 vaccination centres.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson said: “At the moment the limit is on supply, we have a huge network – 233 hospitals, 1,000 GP surgeries, 200 pharmacies and 50 mass vaccination centres and they are going… exceptionally fast.

"We will be going to 24/7 as soon as we can."

Asda is not the only firm helping. EasyJet, which flies out of Stansted, also announced that it expects hundreds of its furloughed workers to sign up to become trained NHS vaccinators.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “We are delighted to be assisting the NHS in their efforts to protect the nation’s health and help to roll out this crucial vaccination programme.

“We are incredibly proud that once again our pilots and crew can help to support the NHS and that we can play our part for the nation at this time – and I know so many of them will step up to help at this challenging time for the country.

“The progress the country is making on the vaccination programme is an exciting and much-needed development."