Boots to start selling Covid vaccines privately… at almost £100 a pop! Huge shake-up of jab roll-out sees chemists offer top-up doses to all over-12s

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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Brits will be able to buy Covid jabs privately from Boots as early as next week. 

Previously the jabs were only available on the NHS as part of the nation’s pandemic response and winter preparations. 

But in a huge shake-up to the scheme the high street chain will start selling single-dose Pfizer vaccines at 52 stores in England from April 1.

But if you want one you’ll have to pay an eye-watering cost of £98.95. 

Brits as young as 12 will be able to start booking their appointments later this week, MailOnline understands. 

The high street chain will sell single-dose Pfizer vaccines at 50 stores in England, at an eye-watering cost of £98.95. Brits as young as 12 will be able to start booking their appointments later this week, MailOnline understands

Individual stores will release appointments this week to start from the beginning of April. MailOnline understands the price will allow Boots to cover the cost of the vaccine and other operational costs involved in delivering the service

Individual stores will release appointments this week to start from the beginning of April. MailOnline understands the price will allow Boots to cover the cost of the vaccine and other operational costs involved in delivering the service

Pfizer was one of the major winners of the pandemic. While lives and businesses crumbled amid lockdowns and disruptions to life during Covid, the New York-based firm became a household name

Pfizer was one of the major winners of the pandemic. While lives and businesses crumbled amid lockdowns and disruptions to life during Covid, the New York-based firm became a household name 

Experts have long called for Covid vaccines to be sold privately, ever since the immediate threat of the virus began to fade.

Pfizer was one of the major winners of the pandemic. While lives and businesses crumbled amid lockdowns and Covid disruption, the New York-based firm became a household name.

During the height of the pandemic, adults and certain groups of children in the UK were all eligible to get jabbed against the virus. 

Officials were desperate for as many people as possible to take up the jabs to build-up a wall of immunity to keep Covid at bay and allow the country to end the series of paralysing lockdowns.

But the rollout has changed tack over the past few autumn and spring booster roll-outs.

Jabs that were once available to nearly everyone have been restricted to at-risk Brits, such as care home residents, over-65s and the frontline NHS workers who typically come into contact with them.

As such, millions of previously jabbed Brits haven’t had a booster jab since late 2021. 

Experts say offering Covid vaccines privately — like what happens with the flu every winter — is a no-brainer. 

Even a member of the Government’s own vaccine advisory panel said it was a ‘good idea’ ahead of the autumn 2023 roll-out.

A Boots spokesperson said: ‘We are launching a private Covid vaccination service for people who are not eligible for an NHS vaccination but still want the option to protect themselves from the virus. 

‘Our private service builds on our existing delivery of Covid vaccinations for the NHS and we are pleased we can now offer Covid vaccinations both on behalf of the NHS and privately, as we have done with flu vaccinations for many years.’

Individual stores will release appointments this week to start from the beginning of April. 

MailOnline understands the almost £100 price tag allows Boots to cover the cost of the vaccine and other operational costs involved in delivering the service.  

Pfizer’s jab is attractive to non-NHS providers because it can come in a single-dose vial, meaning pharmacies don’t have to get several shots ready at once.

It uses the same formulation UK regulators approved in September. 

In February, Pharmadoctor, a clinical service provider which works with more than 8,000 pharmacies across the UK, announced it would be offering private Covid vaccines from April 1 for as little as £45.

Uptake for the autumn booster roll-out stood at around 68.8 per cent (pictured). As of December 2023 7.8million people had received a jab under the programme

Uptake for the autumn booster roll-out stood at around 68.8 per cent (pictured). As of December 2023 7.8million people had received a jab under the programme

A 2022 study led by academics at Imperial College London suggests almost 20million lives were saved by Covid vaccines in the first year since countries began rolling out the jabs, the majority in wealthy nations

A 2022 study led by academics at Imperial College London suggests almost 20million lives were saved by Covid vaccines in the first year since countries began rolling out the jabs, the majority in wealthy nations

Supplies of their private offering will be of the Novavax and Pfizer vaccines. 

Moderna, another pharmaceutical giant which made an mRNA Covid like Pfizer’s, has already said it is seeking to offer its jab privately. 

Ministers paid around £20 per Covid jab to Pfizer during the height of the pandemic for its jabs. 

But in August Moderna said it expects to quadruple its own price when the jabs are offered privately. 

It comes as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which makes recommendations on vaccine rollouts to the Government, last month set out that the Spring booster campaign launching in mid-April would be further restricted. 

The latest rollout will only offer jabs to adults aged 75 and over, older people in care homes and children and adults who are immunosuppressed. 

Health officials have also indicated eligibility for the NHS drive in the autumn will also likely be slimmed down to save money. 

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