Co-operative Pharmacy extends flu jab scheme
The Co-operative Pharmacy is making extra stocks of the flu vaccination to its branch network in preparation for a surge in flu following recent outbreaks in Europe and in Mexico.
Community pharmacies have been given an extra 30 days to vaccinate customers until the end of March in a bid to encourage people to get the jab.
The latest figures show that just over half of those under 65 classed as at risk by the Government have had the vaccination. Around one in four pregnant women have been vaccinated,* while 43 per cent of healthcare workers have had the jab.**
Flu can occur between October and in rare cases can continue into the year as late as May. While the cold weather cannot cause flu itself, the virus spreads in the winter months, both in the northern and southern hemispheres. Sudden changes in temperature may cause symptoms to appear more quickly.
In recent weeks, Turkey has reported a higher number of flu cases than this time last season and according to the World Health Organisation, other notable increases in cases of the flu virus have been detected in Spain, Sweden, Norway and Italy.*** In Mexico, it has been reported that screening measures are in place for the H1N1 strain in some schools.
Fiona Caplan-Dean, Clinical Services Manager at The Co-operative Pharmacy which is the third largest pharmacy chain in the UK, said: “The uptake rates show that a significant number of vulnerable people are still in danger of catching flu and this leaves them in a risky position if flu cases start to rise in the coming weeks.
“While the levels of flu activity have been low this season, we are still advising people to consider the jab to protect not only themselves but also their family. Having the vaccination helps to stop the spread of the virus and that is why it is also important for those who care for at risk groups, such as the elderly, children and those with chronic conditions to come forward.
“The mild winter has lulled many into a false sense of security but we are already seeing that since the beginning of the year, cases of the flu virus have started to rise in other European countries. Having the jab is the only way to fight flu.”
The flu vaccination is available at 400 Co-operative Pharmacy branches around the UK and costs £11. Supplied by Novartis Vaccines, it contains the H1N1 (swine flu) strain in line with World Health Organisation recommendations and has been ordered from stocks outside those allocated for the NHS.
For information on Co-operative Pharmacies offering the service in please see the attached list.
*HPA Provisional data up to the week ending 29 January 2012
** Department of Health provisional figures
***World Health Organisation 20 January 2012
At risk groups eligible for the flu vaccination on the NHS include:
People aged 65 years and over;
- All those aged 6 months or over in a clinical risk group
- All pregnant women
- People living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay
care facilities where there is a risk of high morbidity and mortality.
- Those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the
main carer, or the carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare
may be at risk if the carer falls ill.
- Frontline health and social care workers.
For additional information visit:
About the Co-operative
The Co-operative Pharmacy is part of The Co-operative Group with almost 800 branches. The Co-operative is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by over six million consumers. It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the leading convenience store operator and a major financial services provider, operating The Co-operative Bank, Britannia and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider and Britain’s largest farming operation. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies almost 50 commitments in these areas.
The Group operates 4,800 retail trading outlets, employs more than 106,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £13bn. Further information is available at www.co-operative.coop
Senior Public Relations Officer - Pharmacy
The Co-operative Group
PR Manager – Specialist Retail
0161 266 3589