Canadian companies turning to community pharmacists to keep employees and their families healthy this flu season
TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Shoppers Drug Mart and Morneau Shepell, a leading 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. Companies have come to understand the benefits of investing in their employees' health - whether it results in decreased absenteeism or increased productivity - and they are now looking to community pharmacists to improve employees' access to flu vaccinations.
Employees can now enjoy the convenience of getting their flu shot at a Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacy by simply walking in at a time that works best for them. Employees can also 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 health care professionals and with Shoppers Drug Mart conveniently located across the country, they are so easily accessible," explains Marilynne Madigan, Managing Partner, 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 to 8.6 million Canadians come down with the flu, and it can result in severe consequences for many.1 It is important that all Canadians take the necessary steps to protect themselves, especially through vaccination. 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," says Dr. Dorian Lo, Executive Vice-President, Pharmacy & Healthcare, Shoppers Drug Mart. "And, an added benefit of getting vaccinated by a pharmacist is that people can get useful advice about other preventative measures at the same time."
It is no surprise many employers regularly encourage their staff to get their annual flu shot, as the flu can be a major burden on a company's bottom line. Whether it is employees taking time off or healthy co-workers having to fill the void, the impact can be significant. 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.2 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. 3 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 over five 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 health care professionals to arrange for flu clinics to be made available to Morneau Shepell clients and their employees.
Outside of providing employees and their families with more convenient access to the flu vaccine, companies can also encourage their employees to improve their chance for a flu-free season by washing their hands regularly and keeping their immune systems strong by eating healthy foods, being physically active, and getting enough rest. Every step taken to get prepared for the flu season can go a long way to keeping employees and companies' bottom lines healthy.
About Shoppers Drug Mart
Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation is one of the most recognized and trusted names in Canadian retailing. The Company is the licensor of full-service retail drug stores operating under the name Shoppers Drug Mart (Pharmaprix in Québec). With more than 1,244 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix stores operating in prime locations in each province and two territories, the Company is one of the most convenient retailers in Canada. The Company also licenses or owns 57 medical clinic pharmacies operating under the name Shoppers Simply Pharmacy (Pharmaprix Simplement Santé in Québec) and six luxury beauty destinations operating as Murale. As well, the Company owns and operates 62 Shoppers Home Health Care stores, making it the largest Canadian retailer of home health care products and services. In addition to its retail store network, the Company owns Shoppers Drug Mart Specialty Health Network Inc., a provider of specialty drug distribution, pharmacy and comprehensive patient support services, and MediSystem Technologies Inc., a provider of pharmaceutical products and services to longterm care facilities.
1Health Canada. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/diseases-maladies/flu-grippe-eng.php (Accessed September 5, 2013)
2 Canadian Healthcare Influenza Immunization network. http://www.benefitscanada.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/influenzaatwork-2012-e1.pdf
3American Public Health http://www.apha.org/about/news/pressreleases/2010/flu+vaccine+program.htm (Accessed October 2, 2013)
About Morneau Shepell Inc.
Morneau Shepell is the largest company in Canada offering human resources consulting and outsourcing services. The Company is the leading provider of Employee and Family Assistance Programs, as well as the largest administrator of retirement and benefits plans. Through health and productivity, administrative, and retirement solutions, Morneau Shepell helps clients reduce costs, increase employee productivity, and improve their competitive position. Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves more than 8,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations in North America. With approximately 3,300 employees in offices across North America, Morneau Shepell provides services to organizations across Canada, in the United States, and around the globe. Morneau Shepell is a publicly-traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: MSI). For more information, visit morneaushepell.com.
SOURCE: Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation
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