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Influenza vaccinations available at Pharmacybrand pharmacies

Influenza vaccinations available from selected Pharmacybrands pharmacies

Auckland, 17 August 2011 – Pharmacybrands Limited (NZX: PHB) announced that, from today, people will be able to get influenza vaccines from pharmacists in selected Amcal, Care, Life, Radius and Unichem pharmacies in Auckland, Waikato, and the Bay of Plenty.

Around 30 pharmacists who have already completed training and clinical assessments are being considered for interim authorisation for the remainder of 2011 by their regional Medical Officers of Health, based on each pharmacist’s training, proficiency and knowledge.

“We see this as the first step in rolling out a national programme offering influenza vaccinations at Pharmacybrands pharmacies nationwide,” says Alan Wham, CEO of Pharmacybrands. “It’s important to note that these pharmacists have been assessed and registered using the same process and by the same people as other registered health professionals who administer vaccines.”

Before giving the vaccine, the pharmacist will go through a simple consent process with each patient. In a private consulting room the pharmacist then administers the vaccination — Intanza, from Sanofi — using a very small intradermal needle (1.5mm). Patients need to wait for 20 minutes afterwards, as they do with any other vaccination, to make sure they have not had an adverse reaction. And, if the patient consents, the pharmacist will forward their vaccination record to their GP.

While the authorisations are only now being processed, they still have relevance for the 2011 influenza season. According to the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR), New Zealand’s influenza tends to peak in August, and the comparatively warm start to winter this year may shift this even further out.

“This is all about convenience,” says Mr Wham. “Your pharmacist is the health professional you see most often, so this increases people’s access to the influenza vaccine. And you can still go to your doctor if you prefer.”

“Previously you could get a flu shot at your doctor’s, an A&E clinic or from the occupational health service at your workplace, if it had one. This means there’s now another option – pharmacies. And because of the smaller needles we’ll be using, this is ideal for people who are a bit squeamish.”

Pharmacists in most of the United States and all over the United Kingdom give vaccinations for adult booster shots and travel immunisations, as well as influenza. Last year in the United Kingdom pharmacists administered over 100,000 influenza vaccinations

Pharmacists will charge a fee for each influenza vaccination administered.

Vaccination is the most effective way to protect yourself against flu, and it also means you won’t pass it on to others. Last year more than a million New Zealanders were vaccinated against influenza, and 40 percent of those were privately funded by individuals or employers.

To monitor reaction to the programme Pharmacybrands will, in consultation with the authorising Medical Officers of Health, collect information about the uptake of immunisations and evaluate customer and pharmacist experiences and attitudes. It will then share this information with the Ministry and all Medical Officers of Health.

Related to this initiative, the Ministry of Health will facilitate a process to agree national policy and guidelines for vaccination ahead of the 2012 influenza season. This will include suitable resources for pharmacists about the immunisation schedule.

People interested in getting an influenza vaccine from a pharmacist can call Pharmacybrands on (09) 571 9080 to see if there is an Amcal, Care, Life, Radius or Unichem pharmacy offering this service locally.

*************

About Pharmacybrands
Pharmacybrands Limited is New Zealand’s only listed Retail Pharmacy group and comprises the Unichem, Amcal, Life Pharmacy, Radius and Care Chemist brands. In total the company represents 303 retail outlets operating throughout New Zealand including 135 Unichem Pharmacies, 79 Amcal Pharmacies, 28 Life Pharmacies, 2 Life Outlet stores, 27 Care Chemist Pharmacies and 34 Radius Pharmacies. Of the 303 retail outlets, the company has an ownership interest in 68 associate pharmacies and two 50/50 joint venture outlet stores.

About Intanza®

• Intanza® is the world’s smallest influenza vaccine and is now available in your Pharmacy.*
• It features a tiny 1.5mm micro needle that is 10 times smaller than a regular needle and it is given in the upper arm.*
• If you are between 18-59 years of age and you normally pay for your influenza vaccine then talk to your pharmacist today and ensure you are protected this season.

*INTANZA 9g influenza vaccine, split virion, inactivated 9g/strain/0.1 ml is an Unfunded Prescription Medicine. A pharmacy charge will apply. Intanza is for protection against influenza in adults 18 – 59 years of age. Do not have this vaccine if you are allergic to eggs, chicken proteins or other ingredients such as neomycin, formaldehyde or octoxinol 9. Delay vaccination if you have a fever or acute infection. Precaution if you are immunesuppressed, are pregnant or breast feeding. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including medicines you can buy without prescriptions. Side effects at injection site – redness, hardness, swelling, itching, pain, bruising. Other common side effects – headache, muscular pain, feeling unwell, fever and shivering. Talk to your healthcare professional to see if INTANZA is right for you. If you have side effects, see your healthcare professional. For more information visit www.medsafe.govt.nz, SANOFI Auckland. *Intanza® data sheet. PP1278 DA4810AK

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