With the relaxation of the third lockdown hinging on the hasty vaccination of the country’s most vulnerable – Britain is witnessing a community effort in the spirit of Dunkirk to deliver the jab to fifteen million people by mid February.
As one of the sectors worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the speedy inoculation of the population and a return to normality is in the best interests of everyone in retail. Banding together, various businesses are using their resources and experience to help the nation emerge from the crisis as quickly as possible.
Boots & Superdrug
From Thursday, high street pharmacies, including Boots and Superdrug, began their participation in the coronavirus vaccination program. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Pharmacies sit at the heart of local communities – providing convenient places for those that are eligible to get their jab.”
Boots have set up COVID-19 vaccination sites at three locations in Gloucester, Huddersfield and Halifax, with further sites potentially added at a later date. Having participated in the distribution of various flu vaccinations last year, Boots are using their extensive knowledge and experience to employ an efficient vaccination model to assist the NHS.
Superdrug will also be using five of its stores as vaccination hubs to aid the national rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. To assist in administering the approved vaccinations, the retailer is in discussions to enlist the help of NHS nurses and pharmacists.
Tesco, Waitrose, Iceland & Morrisons
While the two aforementioned pharmacies are the more obvious choices to aid the vaccine roll out, a plethora of other brands have also stepped up. ASDA became the first supermarket to offer in-store COVID-19 vaccinations, starting from the week commencing on January 25th.
The store’s George department will be transformed into a space to administer the vaccine between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week. ASDA have said that once up and running the supermarket would be able to offer 250 jabs a day.
Meanwhile, Tesco has reportedly offered its distribution arm to aid in the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The supermarket’s subsidiary Best Food Logistics, which specialises in food delivery and cold chain services, has offered to use their refrigerated lorries and warehouses to support the logistical side of the vaccine process.
The frozen food giant, Iceland, has also extended an offer to the government to use its refrigerators and distribution network to store and move the vaccine. Waitrose and Morrisons have also donated space to the NHS to assist in this herculean task.
The Scottish brewery and pub chain, BrewDog, was one of the first companies to offer their services during the pandemic. The business adapted their distilleries to produce hand sanitiser, and saw a subsequent boost to their brand perception.
Once again, Brewdog’s co-founder, James Watt, has reached out to the UK Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, and the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon – offering his venues free of charge to distribute the vaccination across the country. In a tweet, Watt said: “We have waiting areas, huge refrigerators and ace people who can help organise.”
PureGym has offered up space in its centres, which are closed under current government guidelines, to help with the vaccination effort. Speaking on BBC’s Question Time, chief executive Humphrey Cobbold said: “I’ve got 270 sites around the country of gyms… I’ve got three and a half thousand people on furlough… our biggest interest collectively as a country is in seeing us come through this as swiftly as possible.”
Back to business for 2021
With multiple retail and hospitality tenants, Targetfollow feel a strong kinship to both sectors. It has been a challenging 12 months, but we are incredibly proud to see the industry lead the way in restoring normality.
With the coronavirus vaccine, we now have the tools to end the pandemic – we just need the manpower. Volunteer with St Johns Ambulance and together we can get the country up and running for 2021. Visit their website for more information.