Love Island’s Anna Vakili has called on Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to back “pharmacy heroes” with more financial support and adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Following a request from the National Pharmacy Association (NPA), the 29-year-old reality TV star uploaded on Sunday (June 7) an Instagram video, captioning it: “Our local pharmacies have been working on the frontline since day one of the coronavirus outbreak and are in desperate need of more financial support and PPE.”
She added a praying-hands emoji in her message, before tagging the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the post.
Commenting on the post the national pharmacy body said: “We’re grateful that Anna responded to the NPA’s request to send a message to her many followers on social media. She was eloquent about the challenges pharmacies are grappling with during the COVID-19 crisis. There are many people who will sit up and listen to what a celebrity has to say, who might not otherwise engage in these serious issues.”
Anna – who used to work a pharmacist before taking part in the the fifth season of ITV’s ‘Love Island’ – returned to her old job to support pharmacy during the ongoing crisis.
“I’m sure a lot of you are aware that I registered as a pharmacist again to help out during the coronavirus crisis,” she said, as she began her video message, which was viewed 250,000 times in the first 24 hours, according to NPA.
“Since I’ve been back, I’ve just been amazed at the heroic work that pharmacy staff are doing all around the UK during this outbreak,” she praised her colleagues in the profession.
“So many of them are working day in and day out on the frontline and so many people will come and see the pharmacist before they even go and see their doctor. So they’re putting themselves at risk by physically seeing patients and dispensing and delivering millions of prescriptions to the most vulnerable people,” she continued.
Calling pharmacy staff “the quiet achievers in this battle to keep the UK healthy,” Anna said: “1.6million people on average visit a pharmacy every day and I’m sure that they would agree that these amazing NHS workers deserve more recognition and support from the government.”
She took up the shortages of PPE in pharmacy and said: “Last week I worked with a pharmacy that had no protective equipment. I’m just shocked that several months in so many pharmacies still don’t have the protective equipment that they need to stay safe.
“So many of them have only received a third to a quarter of what they were promised, and they’re having to rely on customer donations and eBay. This is really bad because local pharmacies are small enough as it is and it’s difficult to maintain social distancing.”
Anna also mentioned the untimely deaths of five pharmacists during the ongoing pandemic.
“So far, five UK pharmacists have died on the frontline and there’s a risk that number could increase,” she said, before bringing up the severe cash flow issues pharmacy contractors have had to live with in recent months.
“Local pharmacies have had to spend thousands to stay open and I know the government has given them a loan, and it might seem like a lot but that loan has to be paid back and when that time comes, so many of them will be forced to shut down because they can’t afford to give it back.
“There are 11,500 local pharmacies so imagine how many jobs will be lost.”
I’m calling on the government to please back our pharmacy heroes with more support,” said Anna, before singling out Chancellor Rishi Sunak who she thought “values” the work pharmacists do as he “grew up working in his mum’s pharmacy.”
“Our local pharmacies have been there for us in this crisis so let’s be there for them now. Please can you all share this and help me get the word out. Thank you,” she concluded.