Get flu and shingles vaccinations at four Guardian pharmacies

Krisiel Francisco (seated), 28, a pharmacy technician receiving a flu vaccination from Carol Ong, senior staff nurse from Parkway Shenton at the Guardian Plus outlet at Ngee Ann City. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM
Krisiel Francisco (seated), 28, a pharmacy technician receiving a flu vaccination from Carol Ong, senior staff nurse from Parkway Shenton at the Guardian Plus outlet at Ngee Ann City. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM

SINGAPORE- Instead of waiting at a polyclinic or your neighbourhood clinic, you can now get your a flu or shingles vaccination at a pharmacy in the mall.

Guardian pharmacy and the Parkway Shenton Group have teamed up to offer such services at four high traffic Guardian outlets at Northpoint, Serangoon Nex, Ngee Ann City and Great World City.

"This will offer more accessible care to patients and ease the load of primary healthcare practitioners," said Guardian's Chief Executive Sarah Boyd at a media event on Tuesday.

Those interested in a vaccination can book their appointments at any Guardian pharmacy and get their appointment times on the spot. Pharmacists will assess them for allergies.

The vaccinations will be administered by a trained Parkway nurse and the process is conducted in a private patient room in the pharmacy. The process is expected to take five to 10 minutes, substantially less than average wait times at most polyclinics, Guardian said.

Flu vaccinations will cost $30, slightly higher than the $25 in polyclinics while shingles jabs will cost about $280, higher than the $240 charged by public hospitals such as Tan Tock Seng.

"We think that the slightly higher cost is reasonable given the shorter waiting times," said Ms Boyd.

A thousand needy elderly from Sembawang, Jurong, Aljunied and Tampines will receive free flu vaccinations at the four Guardian pharmacies as part of Parkway and Guardian's efforts to reach out to the community.

"Flu vaccinations are preemptive and many times the elderly don't even think about it," said PAP Seniors Group chairman Halimah Yacob at the event. "But they are vulnerable, the risk of getting lung infections with flu, leading to complications is more common in the elderly," she said.

In Singapore, the flu is associated with about 600 deaths annually - mostly among those above 65.

Shingles, while not life threatening, can cause disturbing nerve pain lasting several months as well as damaged eye sight. The condition is more common in elderly too.

Guardian now also offers lipid health screening and tests that assess blood glucose and blood pressure, which were more commonly done in clinic settings. Guardian and Parkway will consider offering cervical cancer vaccinations at pharmacies in future.