Covid-19 death rates plummet 402% in 3 weeks as Alitam pharmacies continue vaccination programme

Only 7 weeks ago, Alitam founder Feisal Nahaboo urged more Alitam pharmacies to prepare themselves to support the largest vaccination programme in UK and Ireland history. At the time, Feisal believed community pharmacists could play a significant role in helping reduce the Covid-19 infection rate and to help save lives.

Feisal says: “Seven weeks ago Covid-19 related deaths had surpassed 83,000 in the UK alone but the role of local pharmacies in vaccinating as many people as possible had made profound differences as shown in the key statistics released by our government. Three weeks ago an average of 672 patients were confirmed to have died per day after contracting the virus. A fortnight ago this daily average was reduced to 488 deaths. Once again, with community pharmacies’ support, the death rate reduced substantially to 255 on average per day just a week ago. The UK has recorded a further average daily loss of 167 lives in the current week. The official death toll since the start of the pandemic now stands at a staggering 124,987 and could have been much worse had it not been for the support of regional community pharmacies.

Sadly, we’ve lost a further 42,000 lives over the last 7 weeks. It’s been a horrendous period of loss. Families have been obliterated and the country has been mourning for too long. The roll-out of the vaccination programme through community pharmacies was probably a few weeks too late but clearly it’s made a profound difference in reducing infection and saving lives. As of January 13th 2021, 2,639,309 people had received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination. Today another 20 million people have received a jab with almost half of all UK adults having had the first dose. Now 34% of the entire UK population has received treatment compared to just 4% back then. The role of high street community pharmacy has been underestimated for too long. They’ve played a critical role in driving down fatalities and helping our NHS to stay on its feet. Normality is starting to return with the return of our children to school. Fatality figures show we are now at the lowest point since October 2020. This isn’t coincidental. Community pharmacy has played a key part and for that reason the Alitam Group would like to thank our industry for the support it’s shown in getting the country back to some normality.

Whilst our NHS service has been totally overwhelmed and tested to the greatest levels to date, latest results show signs of major breakthrough. Government data now shows Covid-19 deaths falling by 34% in the past seven days and the 29% fall in hospital admissions over the same period is the fastest decrease at any point in the pandemic.

Covid-19 figures may be plummeting but there’s still potential trouble ahead. We should all remain on red alert. On Friday 5th March 2021, a sixth person in the UK tested positive for the Brazilian coronavirus labelled P1. This P1 variant is thought to spread even more rapidly than the original virus. Worryingly this may also be capable of evading existing vaccines. On this basis, the government should ensure that GPs and community pharmacists are working hand-in-hand to ensure that there’s ongoing effective vaccination distribution ability in all major cities, towns and villages. We need to have the ability to reach the deep pockets of our home nations. This is where community pharmacy will play an ongoing role in combating current and future variants. Our communities will depend on the local pharmacy. The threat and fear of pandemics will lead to a major reliance on community pharmacy. In the event vaccinations are updated, these will need to be administered regularly, possibly on an annual basis. It’s the community pharmacies that will be key in making this possible.”

Prof Hayward, member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) said he does not think new variants of Covid-19 will completely
evade the protection offered by vaccines.

Between 25% and 61% of people in the Brazilian city of Manaus were susceptible to reinfection with the worrying P1 strain. Vaccine manufacturers are working on updated vaccines to tackle variants, which could be fast-tracked for approval by the autumn.

Prof Hayward said: “The vaccines will still take the sting out of it, if you like, and reduce the case fatality rates. Of course, we have the technology to update the vaccines and I think that’s where we’re going really, a situation that will be much more like flu, the numbers of deaths will be much more like flu, the approach to surveillance of new strains and development of new vaccines and regular annual vaccinations will be like that.”