NHS England has selected supermarket Asda to operate a COVID-19 vaccination centre from an in-store pharmacy based in Birmingham, UK.

It will become the first supermarket to provide in-store COVID-19 vaccinations, starting on 25 January. Qualified pharmacists will administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to the priority groups already identified by the NHS, with capacity to provide 250 jabs per day.

“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,” said Roger Burnley, chief executive officer and president of Asda.

“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,” he added.

In a statement, Asda added that it would continue to work with Public Health England and NHS England to assess additional sites that could support the vaccination programme.

Earlier this week, the UK government unveiled its COVID-19 Vaccines Delivery Plan, setting out its ambitions to get ‘tens of millions of people’ vaccinated by spring 2021.

Included within the plan are a number of goals set out by the government, with the overarching aim of rapidly scaling up the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

This includes the aim for everyone in England to be within ten miles of a vaccination site by the end of January, with vaccines also set to be offered to people living in ‘highly rural areas’ via mobile teams.

In addition, the plan details the potential for the NHS to deliver at least two million vaccinations per week in England by the end of January.

The government is also aiming to offer all residents and staff in care homes across England a vaccine by the end of the month.