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TORONTO — Shoppers Drug Mart and Morneau Shepell, a provider of employee assistance programs and pension and benefit services, are working together to provide Morneau Shepell's clients with a more convenient way to offer flu vaccines to their employees.
Through the partnership, employees can get their flu shot at a Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy by walking in at a time that works best for them. Employees also can use a new online scheduling tool to book an appointment to get vaccinated. Employees will simply need to log on to their internal employee website, and click on a link to the Shoppers Drug Mart flu scheduler where they can select a time to get a flu shot for themselves and their family members.
"Pharmacists are highly trained healthcare professionals. and with Shoppers Drug Mart conveniently located across the country, they are so easily accessible," stated Marilynne Madigan, managing partner of Health and Benefits in Ontario at Morneau Shepell. "We are excited to work with Shoppers Drug Mart to provide our clients' employees and loved ones with convenient access to flu vaccines."
According to Health Canada, each year anywhere from 3.4 million to 8.6 million Canadians come down with the flu, and it can result in severe consequences for many. Not only does influenza have a serious impact on the health of Canadians, but it also disrupts the workplace, as thousands of employees across the country are forced to stay home because they are sick or they have to take care of a loved one.
"It's great to see Morneau Shepell and their clients making flu vaccinations a priority, as it is one of the most reliable ways to protect against the flu," stated Dorian Lo, EVP pharmacy and health care at Shoppers Drug Mart. "And, an added benefit of getting vaccinated by a pharmacist is that people can get useful advice about other preventive measures at the same time."
Approximately 1.5 million work days are lost in Canada each year due to the flu, and the resulting health care and lost productivity costs $1 billion. A study out of the University of Pittsburgh found vaccinating employees early in the flu season can save companies between $63 and $95 per employee, and vaccinating an entire firm of 150 employees early could save a business between $9,450 and $14,250. Fall is the best time to get the vaccine, as it takes two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the influenza virus infection and that protection will last roughly six months.
Pharmacists are currently able to administer flu vaccinations for those older than 5 years old in the following provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In those provinces where this is not the case, Shoppers Drug Mart is working with other healthcare professionals to arrange for flu clinics to be made available to Morneau Shepell clients and their employees.