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Kerr Drug prepares for seasonal and swine flu
September 3rd, 2009
RALEIGH, N.C. – Kerr Drug is getting set to handle this year's two-pronged flu season with vaccination efforts for both seasonal flu and H1N1 "swine flu" viruses.
The drug store chain, with 90 pharmacy locations across North Carolina, said Thursday that it is making flu immunizations available immediately for what it expects to be "an unprecedented demand for flu shots."
To meet that demand, Kerr is training additional pharmacists to administer flu vaccines, which will enable the chain to assign 115 immunizing pharmacists to its stores.
In addition, Kerr said that because of the additional resources it's deploying for flu season, the state's Department of Public Health has chosen the chain to be one of the first pharmacies to administer the H1N1 vaccine this fall.
Plans call for Kerr's certified immunizing pharmacists to administer seasonal flu shots in tandem with the H1N1 vaccine starting in mid- to late October. The company said it expects to have 80,000 doses of the swine flu vaccine available.
"Our pharmacists are not just giving seasonal flu shots, they are playing a crucial role in minimizing a pandemic," Joe Heidrick, director of operations for Kerr Drug's KDI Health Solutions unit, said in a statement.
"Senior citizens and young children are at greater risk of not only getting the flu but also of potentially fatal complications because their body’s immune system is weaker," Heidrick noted. "Those risks are even greater this year because this flu season is expected to be much worse."
Amid escalating public concern about this year's flu season — notably swine flu — pharmacy operators have been taking action a bit earlier than usual.
Over the past couple of weeks, national chains such as CVS Caremark Corp., Walgreen Co. and Rite Aid Corp. unveiled extensive flu shot programs, as have regional chains like Bartell Drugs — which announced programs for businesses and in its stores — and food/drug combo store operators such as Supervalu Inc., Kroger Co. and Safeway Inc.