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CVS, MinuteClinic gear up for flu season
July 26th, 2010
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Caremark Corp. has launched an informational campaign in its CVS/pharmacy stores and MinuteClinic retail health clinics, as well as online, to give consumers a heads-up about protecting themselves and their families during the upcoming flu season.
CVS noted that this year it will be easier for consumers to get immunized because only one vaccine will be needed for protection against both the seasonal flu virus and the H1N1 virus. What's more, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending for the first time that anyone age 6 months or older get a flu shot, an extension from its previous recommendation that certain risk groups be vaccinated, according to the company.
During the 2009 flu season, public fears about the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, spurred huge demand for both seasonal and H1N1 vaccinations. That led to periodic supply shortages for each vaccine, forcing many consumers to have to keep checking back with health care providers about the availability of seasonal and H1N1 shots.
CVS said that starting Monday, signs at all CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations will remind consumers that an "all-in-one" flu shot will be available. CVS has more than 7,000 pharmacy stores nationwide and about 500 MinuteClinics inside select CVS/pharmacy outlets.
In addition, the company has updated its CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic flu web sites (www.cvs.com/flu and www.minuteclinic.com/flu) with information about this year's "all-in-one" flu shot, as well as with details on the CDC's universal vaccination recommendation, tips for staying healthy during flu season and other educational content.
"Every CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic location across the country will be able to administer flu vaccinations this season," according to Troy Brennan, chief medical officer for CVS Caremark. "By combining unparalleled access with a comprehensive awareness campaign, we are working hard to do our part to ensure that all Americans are vaccinated this flu season."
A survey of more than 3,100 consumers conducted by CVS/pharmacy this spring found that 59% of respondents said they are likely to get a flu shot in 2010, and 37% of those who didn't get a flu shot in 2009 said they are more likely to get one this year.
Not all consumers, however, are getting the flu shot message, even though demand for flu shots is expected to be high this year, according to CVS. Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents said they are aware of the CDC's recommendation for a universal flu vaccination for anyone 6 months or older, yet only half said they are more likely to get a flu shot based on that recommendation.
"Our survey results demonstrate that while there is a high public awareness about flu, more work needs to be done to educate consumers on the importance of getting a flu shot every year," Brennan stated.
CVS Caremark said it plans to announce full details of its 2010 flu vaccination campaign in the next few weeks.