Pharmacists should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine as frontline workers

In the December 2020 issue of The Pharmaceutical Journal, there was a fitting tribute to the pharmacy staff in the UK who lost their lives to COVID-19.

The deaths happened before face coverings were compulsory, personal protective equipment was available and protective screens were put in place but, as the article acknowledges, community pharmacies have continued to support customers throughout. Hospital and clinical pharmacists also continue with their patient-facing and staff-facing work, while others work to ensure the supply chain continues to provide essential medicines.

A recent article in the BMJ made a case for the COVID-19 vaccination of frontline workers based on occupational health and safety risk assessment, and other countries have used this approach, which is also recognised in guidance from the World Health Organization[1],[2]

We feel that pharmacists need to be included in the frontline healthcare worker definition and have access to vaccination as soon as possible. We ask the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to lobby for this on our behalf.


Martin England, chief pharmacist, Ashtons Hospital Pharmacy Services

Margaret Gibbs, lead palliative care pharmacist, Ashtons Hospital Pharmacy Services


[1] Kar P. BMJ 2020;371:m4598. doi: 10.1136/bmj.m4598

[2] World Health Organization. 2020. Available at: (accessed January 2021)

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The Pharmaceutical Journal, Pharmacists should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine as frontline workers;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.20208710

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