April 16, 2024

Boots will offer Covid vaccinations for almost £100 a shot, making it the latest provider to sell the samples to those ineligible for a booster through the NHS.

The company has confirmed that from next week it will offer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to healthy customers in England aged 12 and over at a cost of £98.95 per jab.

Boots is the latest company to capitalize on manufacturers’ decision to sell the vaccines privately: last month, Pharmadoctor announced it would offer Covid jabs to eligible customers through partner pharmacies in the UK.

While Pharmadoctor notes that each pharmacy sets its own prices, it suggests the Pfizer/BioNTech jab will set customers back £75-£85, while the latest Novavax jab will cost around £45-£55.

According to Graham Thoms, the chief executive officer of Pharmadoctor, more than 1,000 patients have already been privately vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, with Novavax trials expected to start from 22 April.

The announcement by Boots comes as vaccination services prepare for the spring booster campaignin which people aged 75 and over, residents in care homes for the elderly, and people aged six months and over with a weakened immune system will be offered another Covid jab for free on the NHS.

However, qualifying for this, and previous campaigns, most healthy people have not had a booster shot since late 2021, with experts warning that their protection has waned over time.

A spokesperson for Boots said: “We are launching a private Covid-19 vaccination service for people who are not eligible for an NHS vaccination but still want the option to protect themselves against the virus.

“Our private service builds on our existing delivery of Covid-19 vaccinations for the NHS and we are pleased to now be able to offer Covid-19 vaccinations both on behalf of the NHS and privately, as we have done for many years with flu vaccinations. “

Boots said it was working hard to make the jabs as affordable as possible, noting the nearly £100 price tag allows the company to defray the cost of the vaccine and other operational costs associated with delivering the service. deck.

However, the price is several times higher than the cost of a private flu shot, which cost £19.95 at Boots last winter.

While experts have previously welcomed the move to make Covid jabs available to those ineligible for a booster through the NHS, they warned high prices could limit their accessibility.

Dr Simon Williams, a behavioral scientist at Swansea University, said the cost of the Boots service was likely to be prohibitive for many people.

“Pricing the Covid vaccines at £99 is regressive in that it will mean that only those wealthy enough to afford them will be able to. Moreover, even many of those who can afford them are unlikely to at that price point do,” he said.

Williams noted that expensive vaccines are also a concern, as Covid has tended to have worse outcomes among lower-income populations.

“Apart from government subsidies, one potential way to make [Covid jabs] more affordable for organizations and employers [to] think about offering boosters, such as flu shots, to help employees protect their health – this could also end up being cost-effective if it means less of the workforce is lost to illness, including from prolonged Covid,” he said said.

Prof Adam Finn from the University of Bristol said the high prices were not a surprise as businesses tended to charge what they thought people would pay, adding that costs were generally constrained by competition, which on the moment is limited.

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