I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year and hope that you and your family are staying safe at this difficult time for all of us.
Another lockdown is not something that any of us wanted, however, it’s crucial that we all play our part, support one another, and help take the pressure off the NHS. In view of this, I wanted to update you on what Asda is doing in the fight against Covid-19.
We are incredibly proud to announce that Asda has become the first supermarket to support the NHS vaccination programme using in-store pharmacies to provide Covid jabs. The first in-store vaccination centre opens in one of our Birmingham stores later this month and qualified Asda pharmacy colleagues will administer the vaccine to priority groups identified by the NHS.
The site is the first Asda pharmacy to be approved to support the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine programme and we are continuing to work with Public Health England and NHS England to assess other sites that could support this programme.
We have also offered NHS England the full use of our 238 in-store pharmacies and qualified pharmacists to support the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine programme which has just begun and we stand ready to support authorities as needed in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. As this particular vaccine is easier to transport and store, it could be administered from Asda’s full network of in-store pharmacies.
Following last week’s national lockdown, we strengthened the existing measures in stores to protect customers and colleagues, including extending the period our Covid Safety Marshals are on duty at the front of every store from 8am to 8pm. We have continued to strongly encourage customers to wear face coverings in our stores since it became a legal requirement to do so last July and provided masks free of charge to any customers who forgot to bring their own.
However, with infection rates continuing to increase in all regions, we are now going a step further to keep everyone safe in store. If a customer now refuses to wear a covering without a valid medical reason and challenges our colleagues when asked to put on a mask, they will be refused entry to the store.
We have also reviewed store occupancy levels to help maintain social distancing. Customers can play their part too by shopping alone where possible and using Scan and Go Technology to speed up their shopping trip.
We are committed to doing all we can to prevent the spread of the virus – please help us to help you by being kind to our colleagues and each other, and by shopping safely and respectfully.
Find out more about how we're helping to to support the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine programme here.