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The importance of Flu Vaccinations

Protecting Public Health: The Importance of Flu Vaccines in South Africa and Vaccination @ Alpha Pharm Pharmacies

With the arrival of winter in South Africa comes the seasonal threat of the influenza virus, commonly known as “The Flu”. Whilst it is often dismissed as a minor inconvenience, the flu can have serious consequences, especially for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and individuals with underlying health conditions. One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of influenza, and its associated complications, is through annual flu vaccination campaigns. 

Understanding the Impact of Influenza 

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by mutating strains of influenza viruses. It can lead to a range of symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, fatigue, and respiratory distress. In severe cases, influenza can result in hospitalization, pneumonia, and even death in extreme cases. Each year, seasonal influenza strains circulate in South Africa, causing illness and placing strain on healthcare resources.

The Role of Flu Vaccines 

Flu vaccines are designed to enhance immunity against specific strains of influenza viruses. By stimulating the body’s immune response, vaccines help protect individuals and reduce the severity of illness if infection occurs. Vaccination not only safeguards individual health but also contributes to community immunity, reducing the overall effects of influenza within the population. 

Benefits of Flu Vaccination 

Risk reduction: Flu vaccines are highly effective in reducing the risk of contracting influenza and experiencing severe symptoms. Vaccination lowers the likelihood of flu-related complications, hospitalizations, and deaths, particularly among high-risk groups. 

Protecting Vulnerable Populations: Immunization is particularly crucial for individuals at higher risk of flu-related complications, including the elderly, young children, pregnant women, and individuals with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease. 

Reducing Healthcare Burden: By reducing flu-related complications, vaccines help alleviate the strain on healthcare facilities and resources, especially during peak flu seasons. This enables healthcare providers to focus on treating other medical emergencies and conditions. 

Promoting Public Health: Flu vaccination campaigns play a vital role in promoting public health and preventing the spread of infectious diseases. By achieving high vaccination coverage rates, communities can collectively reduce the transmission of influenza viruses and protect vulnerable members of society.  

Accessing Flu Vaccines in South Africa 

Flu vaccines are widely available in South Africa through various channels, including public healthcare facilities, private clinics, pharmacies, and workplace vaccination programs. The South African Department of Health and the private sector typically launches annual flu vaccination campaigns targeting priority groups, such as healthcare workers, elderly individuals, and individuals with underlying health conditions. 

Flu vaccines are a critical tool in safeguarding public health and preventing the spread of influenza in South Africa. By getting vaccinated annually, individuals can protect themselves, their families, and their communities from flu-related illness complications. As we approach flu season, let’s prioritize flu vaccination as part of our commitment to promoting health and well-being for all.  

Remember, prevention is key—protect yourself and others by getting vaccinated against the flu at your nearest Alpha Clin Clinic. 

Medicine Pharmacy

COVID-19 Booster Vaccine Myths and facts

The Booster Vaccine, is it worth it post-lockdown? 

Over 19,4 million South Africans are fully vaccinated against the SARS COVID-19 virus, which means that many of us are eligible for our booster shots. Many questions have been raised about the additional protection of a booster vaccine post-lockdown, like whether it is still advised or necessary to go through with the additional precautions. 

Clinical evidence still proves in favour of vaccine boosters as the immune response fades naturally over time, and as the virus adapts and changes our immune systems may no longer recognise the threat. So, despite numerous concerns about the mutated variants of the virus, many healthcare experts still endorse the booster vaccine as our most pertinent form of protection currently.


The Booster Myths and Facts:

You shouldn’t mix and match vaccines – MYTH 

You can get a mixture of J&J and Pfizer vaccines, so long as you are fully vaccinated by one and receive the other either 60 or 90 days later as a booster. 

The Booster does not help against newer variants such as omicron – MYTH 

There is ample evidence that booster vaccines increases antibody levels to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. Higher antibodies are also found to offer more protection against variants including omicron. 

The COVID-19 vaccines are untested – MYTH 

All vaccines used in South Africa go through extensive testing, by means of numerous clinical trials that include thousands of individuals who were followed for a minimum of two months. Safety monitoring is required for all approved vaccines to ensure the long-term safety of vaccines too.

The vaccine will make you sick – MYTH

None of the authorised COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19; therefore, the vaccine cannot make you sick with the virus. The vaccine teaches your body to react and fight the virus, and sometimes this process can cause symptoms such as fever, these symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building protection against the virus that caused COVID-19. 


Booking your booster vaccine is a great choice! 

Use our pharmacy locator to find your nearest Alpha Clin Clinic and enquire about the booster vaccine today: 


Not just the flu

What is the Flu Shot or Vaccine? 

The flu vaccine, commonly known as the flu shot, is a vaccination against the 4 most common strains of influenza as recommended by The World Health Organization (WHO) for the Southern Hemisphere. The WHO makes these recommendations based on peer-reviewed evidence from research on the common strains that were prevalent in the Northern Hemisphere during their Flu season. The vaccine is generally administered as an injection in the arm and protects our immune systems from serious illness. 

“It’s only the flu.” Should I get the Vaccine? 

Even though most flu viruses have been stigmatised as being common and therefore less serious afflictions, the reality is that thousands of people are hospitalised by the flu every year. According to the NICD people who are at risk of getting severe influenza complications may be severely impacted by influenza, in many cases hospitalisation is required, and in extreme cases the virus can be fatal. The groups identified to be at risk of severe illness include HIV-infected persons, pregnant women, sufferers of chronic illnesses, the elderly and children under the age of 2. 

Who Should get the flu vaccination? 

Since the 2010-2011 influenza season the recommendation has been each year that everyone older than the age of 6 months should get their flu shot once per season. There are rare exceptions to this recommendation, however there are different flu vaccines approved for different groups of people. 

Who Should not get the flu vaccination? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that the groups of people should not get their flu shots are children younger than 6 months old, people with severe and life-threatening allergies to the ingredients within the vaccines and people that have previously had severe allergic reactions to the flu vaccine. 

Many people are unaware of their allergies or the ingredients of a flu vaccine, but this should not deter anyone from getting their shots as the healthcare practitioner administering the vaccine will ensure that a consultation has been conducted before hand. This consultation serves the purpose of making sure that the patient can safely receive their vaccine dose. 

COVID-19 and the Flu Vaccine 

Many people are under the misconception that if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine that they do not need the flu vaccine, however these vaccines do not serve the same purpose. So how are they different? Aside from the formulation and other fundamental differences, the answer is simply that the COVID-19 vaccine protects us against the SARS-CoV-2 Virus, and the flu vaccine protects us against influenza viruses. Although we should all be protected against both viruses it is recommended that these two shots should be received at least 14 days apart. 

Where can I get my flu shot this year? 

Many of our Alpha Pharm Pharmacies have stock of the four strain flu vaccine in their clinics and we are ready to take your bookings. Make a booking online here for your flu vaccine today or visit our pharmacy locator here to find your nearest Alpha Pharm Pharmacy. 


Protect yourself, protect your community, get vaccinated today. 


Health Tips Medicine Pharamcist

Understand The Flu Vaccine 2022

Every year the influenza or flu vaccine is made available to help protect you and your loved ones from contacting the flu or influenza virus.

The flu vaccine can offer some protection from contacting the flu but does not fully protect you from catching it. The flu vaccine is available to most people under the age of 65 years. In certain instances, certain groups of people are cautioned from getting the flu vaccine and that decision is made by your medical practitioner.  

The group or people include:

  • Children  6 months  and younger 
  • people who have experienced a very bad reaction to the flu vaccine or any of its ingredients 
  • those with egg or mercury allergies 

Vaccination Process

Should you wish to get yourself and family vaccinated, you may do so at selected Alpha Pharm Pharmacies in your community  by making use of our Pharmacy Locator

The pharmacist or Alpha Clin clinic nursing sister will discuss the vaccine, different types of flu vaccines and what the benefits of getting the vaccine are. This is done to ensure you understand the benefits of the vaccine and as to what level of protection you would have.  

Some benefits include:

Flu Prevention

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “receiving the influenza vaccine is the most effective way to prevent yourself from becoming sick with the flu.”

Feeling less sick

“It’s still possible to get the flu after vaccination. If you do get sick with the flu, your symptoms may be milder if you got the vaccination.” 

Post Vaccination

Once you have gotten the vaccination, you may experience some pain at the vaccination site and may also experience some flu like symptoms – this varies from person to person. The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to start working and there is a chance you may still get the flu within this period.  

It is also encouraged that in conjunction to the flu vaccine, vitamins and immune boosters offer an additional layer of protection against seasonal flu. You should consult with your Alpha Pharm pharmacist during the vaccination process as to which vitamins and immune boosters you and your family should be taking.


Make a booking online today to get vaccinated

Health Tips Medicine

Should men Supplement ?

To Supplement or Not to Supplement


To power your body, men need a wide range of nutrients in the right balance. Vitamins are essential to your overall health. They perform many critical roles in your body, from producing energy to ensuring proper function of bodily systems.

Not getting enough of certain nutrients can negatively impact your health and even result in chronic diseases.

Here are essential vitamin supplements men need:

Vitamin C

Alpha C, also known as ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin found in various foods and is also sold as a dietary health supplement. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and a strong antioxidant that may reduce the risk of certain diseases.

Benefits of Vitamin C:

  • Boosts immunity.
  • Enlargement of the prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) is common in older men and causes problems with urination. Vitamin C may help reduce your risk of developing an enlarged prostate.
  • Vitamin C helps produce collagen, a connective tissue that holds muscles, bones and other tissues together.
  • It assists in protecting you from bruising by keeping capillary walls and blood vessels firm.
  • It helps your body absorb iron and folate from plant food sources.
  • Helps heal cuts and wounds and works as an antioxidant to inhibit damage to body cells.

Vitamin D

Alpha D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin which helps maintain healthy blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. It also enhances the absorption of calcium, helping to build and maintain strong bones.


Benefits of Alpha Vitamin D:

  • Vitamin D plays an essential role in the development of skeletal muscle, which is the muscle attached to bones that help move the body. Adequate vitamin D is also instrumental in optimising muscle strength and performance.
  • Vitamin D may assist in improving testosterone levels. Testosterone plays a crucial role in bone mass, muscle strength, fat distribution, and even sex drive.


Men who are vegetarian often come up short on zinc. Zinc is needed for the proper growth and maintenance of the human body. It is f needed for immune function, wound healing, blood clotting, thyroid function, and much more. Alpha Zinc is a combination of Zinc, selenium and Vitamin A.

Benefits of Alpha Zinc:

  • Increases your immune system and helps fights colds
  • Zinc is an effective anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. It  helps fight oxidative stress and decreases the chance for disease development.
  • Zinc is needed to balance most hormones, including insulin, the main hormone involved in the regulation of blood sugar.
  • Helps maintain heart health by supporting blood vessels within the cardiovascular system, while also lowering inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Zinc plays an important role in fertility, especially modulating serum testosterone levels in men, which impacts fertility and libido.
  • Helps the body to metabolise carbohydrates, fats and proteins .
  • Helps with muscle growth and repair.

Alpha C, D3 and Zinc are now available at an Alpha Pharm Pharmacy in your community>>>

Flu Vaccination Blog Cover
Health Tips Medicine

2021 Flu Vaccinations

The power to prevent the flu begins with YOU

Every year, the influenza virus causes epidemics of flu in communities throughout the country. This year may be especially burdensome due to the COVID-19 pandemic happening at the same time.

The flu shot, also known as the influenza vaccine, is a safe and effective way that helps prevent you from getting seasonal flu. Symptoms of the flu can range from mild to life-threatening.

Typical cases of the flu can last from three to five days with a cough lingering for up to three weeks.Flu symptoms include the following:

● A quick onset of feeling ill

● Fever/chills

● Fatigue

● Muscle/body aches

● Sore throat

● Cough

● Headache

Some people (often children) may also experience a stuffy nose, vomiting or diarrhoea. Also, it's important to note that not everyone will necessarily experience a fever with the flu.Who should get the Flu Vaccine?The annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone age 6 months or older. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk of influenza complications, including:

● Pregnant women

● Older adults

● Young children

Chronic medical conditions also can increase your risk of influenza complications. Examples include:

● Asthma

● Cancer or cancer treatment

● Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

● Cystic fibrosis

● Diabetes


● Kidney or liver disease

● Obesity

Anyone with a chronic medical condition should get the flu vaccine.Who shouldn't get the Flu Vaccine?The influenza vaccine is very safe, although there are some groups of people that shouldn’t get it. They include:

● children less than 6 months of age

● people who have had a severe reaction to the flu vaccine or any of its ingredients

● those with egg or mercury allergies

● those with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)

Other Benefits of Flu Vaccine

Influenza is associated with higher rates of complications, hospitalisations and even death in individuals living with non-communicable diseases compared to the general population.

For example, people with asthma and COPD suffer from more severe breathing problems if they contract a respiratory infection such as influenza; those with diabetes–and pregnant women–are more likely than others to be hospitalised when they have flu; while the risk of stroke and heart attacks is increased three-and five-fold. Flu shots also allow the development of community immunity. If enough people get the vaccine, the flu is unable to spread rapidly through communities. As a result, people in high risk groups are less likely to get the flu. Flu shots are, therefore, important for protecting others from severe illnesses.

Protect the circle of life and the moments that matter the most by getting the flu vaccine today! Flu vaccines now available at a trusted Alpha Pharm Pharmacy in your community. Visit Our Facebook page @AlphaPharmOfficial or for more info.

Alpha Pharm united through the generations for a healthier South Africa! Vaccinate! It's your best shot!

Medicine Pharamcist

The Misunderstood lives of Pharmacists

The misunderstood lives of pharmacists

Anachronistic concepts such as the apothecary and its alchemist that used to occupy the chemical dispensing field, are no longer relevant to today’s society, but what does a day in a pharmacists life really look like?

Pharmacists as we know dispense drugs and medications that are prescribed to patients by doctors and specialists. Sorting and counting the pills, capsules and tablets actually forms a very minor part of the pharmacists’ day, as most modern medicines are pre-packed per their recommended scheduling use and quantities. Many misconceptions circulate society regarding a pharmacists true duties and responsibilities, so lets explore the truth of the matter.

What do Pharmacists do on a daily basis?

Pharmacists require a very specific and comprehensive knowledge base of medicine the the chemicals that they are formulated from in order to explain to customers how the medicine works, how to take the medicine and possible side effects caused by the medicine.

In addition to this service, pharmacists will also make use of digital filing systems to keep patient records on so that they may advise patients regarding allergies or the unintentional combination of medicines causing possibly volatile results. It has become even more important in a globalised market that pharmacists attentively aid patients in selecting appropriate and ideal over the counter medicines from a now vast selection available.

Pharmacist or business owner?

In the case of many Alpha Pharm community pharmacies, the pharmacist is also the owner of the pharmacy itself. As such their daily routine includes a myriad of tasks related to successful business management, to mention only a few:


  • Taking stock counts, ordering and buying new stock (consider about all the different things that you can buy at an Alpha Pharm pharmacy)


  • Setting competitive prices and doing financial bookkeeping.


  • Hiring competent staff and ensuring that the pharmacy as a business is managed to a high degree of efficacy.

Any other responsibilities?

Having understood what pharmacist’s days look like in a nut shell, it is also important to consider that a vocation in dispensing scheduled medicine holds a lot of responsibilities attached to it. These scheduled medicines are strictly controlled by laws to protect members of the public, in accordance with these laws the pharmacists need to take the time every year to keep in accordance with the constantly changing policies. Additionally pharmacists need to keep track not only of the medicines that they dispense but also of expired medicines and leftover pills that customers return for safe and ethical destruction.

Renaissance men and women

After looking into the work lives of pharmacists, it becomes increasingly clear that caring, professional and attentive community pharmacists not only still have a role in globalised society, but their role has become absolutely vital to the patients journey of good health and prosperity.

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