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NI pharmacies promote social distancing at ‘critical time’ in pandemic

Badges and posters will be displayed in pharmacies to promote the campaign
Badges and posters will be displayed in pharmacies to promote the campaign

A new campaign to promote awareness of social distancing precautions has been announced by Northern Ireland’s health minister Robin Swann at a “critical time” in the pandemic.

Northern Ireland’s more than 500 community pharmacies will help promote the campaign by distributing ‘Distance Aware Shield’ badges and displaying posters, in an effort to remind people to maintain social distancing measures, health minister Robin Swann said.

“The progress we have achieved to date in our vaccination programme is very welcome, but we cannot allow complacency to creep in,” Mr Swann said.

According to the Northern Ireland government website, the campaign materials “whether worn or displayed, shows to others that the wearer or organisation would like others to keep a respectful distance where possible”.

Olive MacLeod, chief executive of the Public Health Agency – which helped adapt a similar campaign launched in Wales last year for Northern Ireland – said: “Pharmacies sit at the heart of local communities and they will be a great help in promoting the campaign and in distributing Distance Aware badges to members of the public, especially to those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.”

Mr Swann stressed that the badges are not meant to be an identifier of someone who has been shielding or may have any specific health conditions, rather an opportunity for people and organisations to “show [their] concern and respect for other people by maintaining social distancing”.

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