COVID-19 vacs: Collaborative working between Crest Pharmacy Group and PureGym

A community pharmacy group in the West Midlands is running a COVID-19 vaccination site from a gym to support local vaccination efforts.

Inside the PureGym C-19 vac site in Nuneaton town centre (Credit: Shiraz & Sons Ltd)

Whilst only small numbers of community pharmacy-led vaccination sites have been able to open so far, of them we are hearing incredible stories about how local stakeholders have collaborated to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme, including that of Crest Pharmacy Group and PureGym.

National gym chain PureGym offered their venues to the NHS for use as vaccination sites in December when the company saw that their gyms were lying empty during the multiple lockdowns and realised that the sites could be harnessed for the national COVID-19 vaccination effort.

The chosen gym is situated in Nuneaton town centre and has proved popular among patients because it is accessible and spacious, having air filtration and adequate parking. Crest Pharmacy Group uses staff from across their workforce to run the vaccination site; consequently, it has been business as usual at the group’s pharmacies. Teams of volunteers from the Royal Voluntary Service are also helping the smooth running of the site by performing key marshalling duties.

The site has already administered more than 4,000 jabs and will remain a local vaccination centre until June, meaning PureGym won’t be able to open the location as a gym before then, which they otherwise could have done with the easing of restrictions. This is testament to PureGym’s commitment to the vital vaccine rollout.

Crest Pharmacy Group superintendent Mr Ali Shiraz administering a vaccine (Credit: Shiraz & Sons Ltd)

Patients have, reportedly, been ‘almost skipping to take their jabs’ at the gym, which has filled a gap in local COVID-19 vaccine provision. Reflecting on the success of the site, Carl Rose, Commercial Manager at Crest Pharmacy Group, said:

“We are proud to be part of the national vaccination project – it has been professionally satisfying to help patients directly. The project also demonstrates the importance and value of community pharmacy in delivering nationwide healthcare services on behalf of the NHS and the UK Government.

The generosity of Pure Gym in offering their venues has been invaluable in our project delivery. The management and staff of Pure Gym have been energetic and enthusiastic throughout the process and have shown their dedication to supporting us and the NHS in the fight against Covid. The project highlights the potential benefits of collaborative working between pharmacy, the NHS and other private organisations.”

A spokesperson for PureGym also commented:

“PureGym is delighted its Nuneaton gym is operating as a vaccine hub until mid-June, and it is fantastic news that so many jabs have already been administered. We at PureGym alongside Crest Pharmacy Group, are thrilled to be playing our part in England’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.”


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