Retail pharmacies across the country are taking steps to help customers stave off illnesses in the 2013-2014 flu season.


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Pharmacy retailers launch annual flu shot campaigns

September 9th, 2013

NEW YORK – Retail pharmacies across the country are taking steps to help customers stave off illnesses in the 2013-2014 flu season.

For example, flu shots are now available at all Walgreen Co. pharmacies and at Healthcare Clinics at select Walgreens and at Duane Reade pharmacies.

Flu shots are available daily during all pharmacy and clinic hours, including nights at 24-hour locations, weekends and holidays, with no appointment necessary. Age restrictions vary by state at Walgreens pharmacies — as is the case for other retailers — while Healthcare Clinics at selected Walgreens can provide immunizations for patients age 2 and older.

“Last season demonstrated why it’s important to protect yourself early, as the influenza virus is always unpredictable in when, where and how widely it may spread,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens’ president of pharmacy, health and wellness. “During a very active flu season, our pharmacists and Healthcare Clinic nurse practitioners, who are trained to provide immunizations, delivered more than 7 million flu shots to our customers. This season, by offering flu shots when it’s most convenient for our customers, we’ll again play an integral role in helping more people get, stay and live well.”

Flu shots are offered on a walk-in basis, and those interested in appointments can schedule one online for any Walgreens or Healthcare Clinic by visiting www.walgreens.com or www.walgreens.com/clinic.

Similarly, CVS/pharmacy and most MinuteClinic locations are offering flu vaccinations. “It is important for people to get the flu shot annually because it is the most effective way to prevent the spread of influenza to others and your immunity from the virus declines over time,” said Papatya Tankut, vice president of pharmacy affairs for CVS Caremark Corp.

A survey from CVS/pharmacy released last month found that less than half of respondents (46%) were more likely to get a flu shot this year following last season’s late flu outbreak. But 59% said they consider it a social responsibility to get the flu shot every year to keep their community healthy and minimize the spread of the influenza virus.

“The results of our consumer survey demonstrate the heightened awareness among Americans to get vaccinated, and CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic are two of the most convenient places to get a flu shot,” said Tankut.

This season, more than 7,500 CVS/pharmacy stores and 650 MinuteClinic sites inside selected CVS locations will be providing flu shots every day, including evenings and weekends, no appointment needed.

Rite Aid Corp. pharmacists are also ready to help customers shield themselves from the flu. Seasonal flu shots are available at all of the more than 4,600 Rite Aid pharmacies nationwide.

“While it’s too early to tell what the 2013-2014 flu season will bring, it’s not too early to visit your Rite Aid pharmacist for a flu shot,” said Rite Aid executive vice president of pharmacy Robert Thompson. “Getting a flu shot as soon as it is available remains the single best way to protect yourself and others against the flu, because the more people in a community who are immunized, the less chance of a widespread outbreak in that community.”

To help employers protect their workforce from the flu, Rite Aid has a team dedicated to planning and implementing on-site workplace flu clinics, staffed by certified immunizing Rite Aid pharmacists. Alternatively, the team can develop a voucher program in which employees would receive a flu shot voucher to use at any Rite Aid pharmacy. For more information, employers can visit www.shieldmyworkforce.com.

Sam’s Club is complementing its anti-flu campaign in a program addressing other immunization needs by offering shots that protect against such other conditions as pneumonia, shingles and whooping cough.

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