This site is intended for Healthcare Professionals only

Comirnaty Covid vaccine available to buy in pharmacies from next month

Clinical news

Comirnaty Covid vaccine available to buy in pharmacies from next month

Pfizer is attempting to get its Comirnaty Omicron XBB.1.5 Covid vaccine into community pharmacies across the UK from next month.

Individual pharmacies will be able to set the price at which they sell the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, which prevents Covid in people aged 12 and over, and it is believed Pfizer has already started talking to Boots about stocking it.

The vaccine was approved in September last year but last week, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency approved a change to its licence that enables the thawing and re-labelling of the vaccine by a manufacturer outside of the NHS. Pfizer said that was “a critical step to support making the Covid vaccine available for the public to buy in Great Britain.”

The Comirnaty vaccine has to be stored at temperatures of -80 ºC and then thawed before use. Until the MHRA updated the licence, the thawing and distribution of the vaccine was centrally managed by the NHS.

“In response to the ongoing impact of Covid-19 and demand for the vaccine, we are making the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine available for supply to high street pharmacies, occupational health providers and private healthcare companies across Great Britain for sale to the public from March 2024,” a Pfizer spokesperson told Independent Community Pharmacist.

“This will provide those individuals who are not eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine through the NHS national immunisation programme with the option to buy it. The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is indicated for active immunisation to prevent Covid-19 in people 12 years of age and older.”

Pfizer said it “has worked tirelessly with multiple stakeholders at speed” as it tries to make the vaccine available from “local pharmacies and private healthcare providers,” although it did not say if it has offered the vaccine to independent pharmacies.  

“The vaccine will be packaged specifically for individual use rather than in the multiple dose vials supplied to the NHS,” Pfizer’s spokesperson added.

Insisting Covid “has not gone away and continues to be a threat,” Pfizer UK’s primary care medical director Dr Gillian Ellsbury said: “As we move from a pandemic to an endemic state, we need to ensure we remain ready to respond to this constantly evolving and unpredictable virus.

“Vaccines remain an important pillar in helping to prevent serious illness or hospitalisation as a result of Covid-19. By enabling the wider availability of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine we are facilitating choice and access for those that are not eligible to receive it through the NHS programme but want the option of a Covid-19 vaccine.”

According to government figures, the number of Covid cases in England increased by 38.6 per cent to 5,975 people between December 3 and 9 2023 compared with the previous seven days.

Between December 2 and 8 2023, 2,622 people went to hospital with Covid, an increase of 27.2 per cent compared with the previous seven days.

Copy Link copy link button

Clinical news