DUBAI – March 1, 2023: Aster Pharmacy, the retail arm of Aster DM Healthcare and a leading pharmacy chain in the GCC, today announced taking a pioneering step by offering in-store vaccinations at its outlets as part of its efforts to improve access to preventive measures and ensure wellness. This is the first time a pharmacy retail chain is initiating in-store flu vaccinations in Dubai.
The in-store vaccination programme launched on 1st March at Aster Pharmacy 200, located at Al Nahda 2, Dubai. The retail chain will offer flu vaccinations in the initial rollout phase, and more preventive vaccines against infectious diseases will be added later.
Commenting on the initiative, Ms. Alisha Moopen, Deputy Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare, said, “As an organization, we are as much focused on improving access to the best preventive measures, as providing the best healthcare services to our customers and patients in need. The in-store vaccination programme is a unique step forward to ensure that people can avail the service at ease annually which can in turn help to improve the uptake of flu vaccination and reduce the impact of a flu outbreak that we see each year.”
“The UAE health regulatory authority has always been at the forefront of embracing new ways to reach out and improve public health. Aster pharmacy is grateful to the health authorities for licensing us to be able to administer vaccines and join forces in preventive health practices across the UAE. We are indeed proud to be the first pharmacy chain to provide vaccines at our stand-alone pharmacies in Dubai,” said Mr. NS Balasubramanian, CEO of Aster Retail.
“The registration process for getting the vaccination has been simplified and streamlined. Once the patient enters the facility and registers at the counter, he/she can have their vitals checked and proceed with the vaccination. We also accept walk-ins, which will make it more convenient for patients to avail the flu vaccination service in their neighbourhood, rather than going to a clinic or hospital. Our wide network of over 200+ pharmacies across the Emirates enables the community to be served better. This will help strengthen our patients’ immunity and improve public health at large,” he added.
Flu is a yearly phenomenon and has seen an increase in outbreaks in the last few years post the Covid pandemic. As per guidelines from Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tackling flu with preventive vaccination reduces its complexity and severity significantly and offers protection against common viruses. The vaccine is also updated annually to ensure continuous immunity.
At present, the Aster vaccination programme will only cater to the adult population between the ages of 18-65. The vaccination is designed to protect against the strains of the flu virus and reduce the risk of hospitalization as recommended by healthcare professionals,” said Mr. Shiraz Khan, COO of Aster Retail.
Flu is generally prevalent in the UAE seasonally and the outbreak typically occurs between October and March every year. The UAE Government takes measures to monitor and control the spread of flu and the Aster in-store vaccination programme will support this.
Alongside the vaccination drive, Aster Pharmacy is also running awareness initiatives among the public on a range of hygiene practices such as the importance of hand washing, and covering coughs and sneezes.